CHICAGO (CBS) — Food safety and eating clean are at the top of many minds, with the recent romaine lettuce scare and Roundup pesticides found in popular foods.
CBS recently visited a farm in Libertyville growing clean organic food. Allison Parker and her husband, Alex, grow certified organic vegetables and raise pastured animals in the most ecological way possible at Radical Root Organic Farm.
“We do our animal rotation system,” Allison said. “Our chickens, they’re rotated everywhere on the farm. Our goats are also rotated on the farm.”
They also use two nutrient-rich manures to fertilize the soil.
Paying special attention to environmental and soil health is a top focus at Radical Root.
“A lot of our diets are lacking in the basic trace minerals that we used to have 50 years ago, before the depletion of these soils happened,” Allison said.
Part of the farm uses simple reflective shelters to grow a diverse mix of vegetables, including heirloom varieties popular in the 1800s, such as watermelon radishes.
“You can eat it fresh like a raw radish. It’s actually kind of pink inside. It’s kind of turnipy in flavor,” Allison said.
Besides the weekly farm stand, customers can sign up for community-supported agriculture, which allows them to pre-pay for a weekly or bi-weekly seasonal box of whatever is ready for harvest.
“The apples, pears, mushrooms, and cranberries we’ll sometimes purchase from farmers that we know, and we’ll try to buy from the most organically-minded farms,” Allison said.
Radical Root also offers grass-fed meats and fish, purchased from a tribe up near Lake Superior.
“The good thing about local is it hasn’t been harvested weeks and weeks ago. The nutrition quality is higher when it hasn’t been shipped in from far away,” Allison said. “I think the more people learn what they’re eating, or just ingesting, I think people can really take control of their health.”
The farm stand is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays year-round.