Blue Moon Farm has a foot print of 20 acres just 10 miles north from Champaign-Urbana in what we affectionately call the “corn desert”. The wind can blow so hard out here you’d think it could sweep the sunset away. Lucky for us it doesn’t—with our 360-degree view of the horizon we get quite a show. It is pure prairie out here in Illinois. Of course, the bluestem has been replaced with corn and beans and beans and corn, unless you are at Blue Moon Farm. Our long rows of salad greens and 40 other vegetables, herbs, and flowers really stand out here, as do our poly houses. Just ask the pheasants hiding in the waterways. We have farmed in this area since 1995 and have been at our present location since 1997.
It was very difficult to find land for sale in the area. After about a year-and-a-half of looking we placed an ad in the Thrifty Nickel describing what we wanted to do and thankfully, Carl Woller called us to see if 2184 CR might work. Our plans for the farm made it easier for him to part with property his family had farmed and a house that he and all of his siblings had been born in. The property came blessed with wonderful stories, prairie soils, two older barns, a reasonable number of silver maples, peonies and some iris. Looking back on this, we admit Carl’s exciting tornado tales should have made a bigger impression on us. The weather has proven to be one of the most challenging aspects of Illinois farming.
Farm Goals: Blue Moon Farm’s goals are simple. To use only organic methods to produce the most beautiful and best tasting produce possible.
Strategy: With each year of farming we get closer to reaching our goals, perhaps not as fast as we would like, but closer nevertheless. Over the past 6 years the farm has not planted any additional acreage. Increased production and other improvements have come through better crop care (fertility, weed, insect and disease control), season extension (addition of hoop houses), improved variety selection, marketing and increased mechanization. At present, we plan to continue along this path.
Markets: We participated in a CSA for 5 years before deciding to narrow our focus. Today 70% of our crop goes to one Farmers Market that is held each Saturday from Mid-May to the first or second week of November. The remainder of our crop is marketed Tuesdays and Fridays to restaurants and stores in the Champaign-Urbana area.
Harvest: With two restaurant deliveries and one Farmer’s Market, harvest seems never ending. In the height of the summer, harvest takes up most of the day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and part of the day on Monday and Wednesday. Fieldwork is accomplished in stolen moments around harvests.