To fully appreciate the certified natural goodness of Jacobson Family Farms, you have to know a little more about Kyle Jacobson and his passion for the environment. Inspired by his Eagle Scout training and his favorite authors like Richard Perkins, Joel Salatin and Eliot Coleman, he wanted to live a humane lifestyle and have a direct role in both protecting and rehabilitating the environment through farming.
By partnering with Market Wagon, Kyle is able to directly connect with customers in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin from his small-scale farm in rural Antioch Township, just outside Chicago, near the Wisconsin border. He’s quickly expanded to several markets thanks to the popularity of his products with people who can taste the difference with his no-till, regenerative methods.
For years, Kyle worked with environmental land restoration with a state agency. At the same time, he was working to build up a farm of his own, mostly managing it remotely. But when the pandemic hit and interest skyrocketed from people who wanted to tap into a local supply chain, he felt it was time to go to the farm on a full-time basis.
Jacobson Family Farms has three acres of vegetable production and 47 more acres for pasture-raised hogs, cattle and sheep. Humane treatment is at the forefront with egg-laying chickens being able to run free “because they are part of our family.”
Thanks to some recent investment in infrastructure, this is the first year Kyle has been able to sell fresh produce during the winter. Now, with the consistent revenue stream provided by Market Wagon’s online platform, he’s able to provide full-time work to several additional employees, rather than having to lay them off.
All of the farm’s produce like red potatoes or other root vegetables like radishes are Certified Naturally Grown because of Kyle’s passion for a holistic approach to the ground by not using invasive machinery or pesticides.
“At Jacobson Family Farms it is all about the soil and building the soil,” Kyle said. “If you have healthy soil, you will have healthy vegetables and nutrient-dense vegetables.”
By farming, Kyle continues a family legacy which goes back generations to his native Sweden where his cousin farms the family plot to this day.
The farm also continues a personal work which began when Kyle collected native prairie seeds for his Eagle Scout project. He donated the seeds to a nearby forest preserve to help restore Illinois prairie in Lake County.
Now, he’s using those same types of seeds to plant a native grazing mix which thrives during the summer months. It means his livestock will be able to graze in a way that’s both healthy for them as well as the soil itself.
When it comes to produce, Jacobson Family Farms uses compost on permanently raised beds to preserve the soil ecology while maximizing nutrients and weed prevention. The focus on soil health creates mouth-watering products like Jacobson's famous lettuce mix.
“The guaranteed sales with Market Wagon prevent the waste associated with traditional farmers markets,” Kyle said. “When you are displaying everything and trying to keep the sun off of the products, the compost heap gets quite large after a season of outdoor markets.”
So, this winter, don’t think you have to look elsewhere to find fresh lettuce and greens in Market Wagon’s Chicago Lakeshore, Madison, Michiana or Southeast Wisconsin markets. Instead, look to Jacobson Family Farms and a Eagle Scout who is passionate about the environment and bringing you the best of what Mother Nature has to offer 52 weeks a year.