Crest Ink - Volume 30 - Number 01

Oasis Acres Farm

Dan Stumpenhorst has a green thumb. Not only does he mow the lawn at the Crest Foods Main Plant, but he’s the owner and operator of Oasis Acres Farm, an organic Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable farm located just a few miles west of Ashton. After attending a small farming seminar at the University of Illinois recently, Dan realized that it would be possible to turn his long-time hobby into a way to support the community. Community Supported Agriculture or Co-Op’s originated in the 1980’s as a way for urban areas to turn empty lots into gardens that the community would support by paying money upfront for a weekly share in the produce. For the last 15 years, Dan was just giving away veg- etables from his backyard garden, but now he had a chance to expand, support his hobby, and create a sense of community. Farming using Organic Practices means that there are no chemicals used to fertilize or control pests. Only organi- cally approved methods are used in the process. For Dan, it also means that he wants people to have a better under- standing of how their food is grown and where it comes from. The combination of convenience, cost, support- ing a local business, and having an abundance of fresh vegetables meant that Dan’s farm had generated a lot of interest in its infancy. 2016 was a trial year for Oasis Acres Farms, but Dan was still able to manage a Co-Op and support 11 families for 9 weeks initially, extending this to 13 families and 12 weeks to round out the season. While there were many things he learned along the way (soil mix, spacing, growing herbs, bugs), probably the toughest thing for Dan to figure out was how much to produce. Even though he overproduced, this meant he was able to make donations of veggies to the Kitchen Table, a local soup kitchen in Rochelle, and started up U-Pick Days on the Farm, where the community was invited to come and pick their own veggies. With a successful trial year under his belt, Dan is looking forward to the 2018 season. He will plant at least 52 varieties of vegetables again and should be able to expand his Co-Op to about 20 families for 12 weeks. Look for Oasis Acres Farms on Instagram or Facebook, where Dan provides information to his followers about his journey, his process, vegetable recipes, and what’s growing at the farm. If you’d like to join Dan’s Co-Op, feel free to contact him by email ( or through social media (Oasis Acres Farm). The next season of veggie deliveries will start in late-May! Just another great thing to support in the small town of Ashton, Illinois! Veggies of 2017 included: Arugula, wax beans (green & yellow), beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, basil, cabbage (red & white), carrots, chives, cucumber (pickling & slicing), cilantro, dill, eggplant, garlic, green onions, horseradish, kale, leeks, lettuce (butter crunch, romaine, green cross, mesculin), onions, oregano, peppers (green bell, Hungarian wax, jalapeno, pablano/ancho), red potato, pumpkin (cooking & for display), radishes (red & white), sage, spinach, squash (zucchini, patty pan, spaghetti, butternut, acorn, swiss chard, tomato (cherry & sauce/slicing).

January, February & March 2018 Crest Ink 17

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