A short 65 miles from the Fox Plot is a much larger plot, a farm really, called Kinnikinnick Farm located just northeast of Rockford, IL and south of the Wisconsin border. It is (for this wannna-be farmer) the stuff that dreams are made of. Susan and David Cleverdon, while originally city folks, made their way westward in Illinois and began second careers as farmers 1994 with a small half acre of vegetables. Elbow grease and patience were just a two ingredients that went into growing this organic farm from the ground up. They have a slew of critters, including two fabulously huge Polish guard/herd dogs (Tatra is the breed) named Teddy and Lena, a few goats, sheep, and many chickens (the most infamous being a rogue rooster who escaped the stock pot, and is now the biggest cock in the barn). It is no small potatoes operation as the fields of vegetables cover about thirty acres of land and run the gamut of ordinary (organic!) zucchinis to the more obscure Italian greens like spigarello and other hard-to-pronounce names I can’t remember.
Nate and I first encountered Kinnikinnick Farm on our very first date, which was by definition, a blind date. His good Moveable Feast friends talked up this Outstanding in the Field dinner and convinced him without much effort to com along. My boss at the time invited me as well and in about 2.3 seconds of piling in the car to head to Kinnikinnick, I smelled a set up. The dinner was held at the farm and crafted by Paul Virant of Vie restaurant in Chicago. It was a truly lovely event in an idyllic setting, enhanced a wee bit by the cute pilot who liked gardening and a nice glass of wine prior to dinner. The rest as they say, is history. Fast forward four and a half years to present day, where we took a mid-winter field trip to Kinnikinnick Farm to … wait for it…. drumroll… plan a summer wedding there, almost exactly five years to the day of the blind date (you may all make cheesy awwwww sounds now).