Many people don’t know this about me, but I grew up in a very small farm town named Grant Park. It’s located about an hour south of the city of Chicago and the population is around 1,600. The “town” doesn’t even have a stop light… Or a grocery store and definitely no Starbucks. 😁 Grant Park does, however, have the most important things in life – bars and churches! Haha. The best part of Grant Park is that it is entirely surrounded by farmland.
Last year, my mom, who still resides in Grant Park, told me about this new venue that opened in “the country” called Locavore Farm. (Just to clarify, she lives in the “town”.) When she started telling me about this place, I could hardly believe it existed in little ol’ Grant Park! Locavore Farm is essentially a farm to table dining experience that allows you to dine on the land where your meal was produced. They even take it one step further and bring the actual farmers to the table as well! Every ingredient used in their meals is produced on their own farm or harvested within 5-10 miles of their farm. Obviously, I was dying to check this place out, but my summer 2015 schedule just didn’t allow it.
The 2016 schedule was released early spring. Naturally, my mom and I jumped on the opportunity and purchased four tickets for the August event. Locavore Farm only hosts one Dine on the Land event per month during the summer months and as you can imagine, they sell out fast.
After discussing the event with my husband, we decided we needed to invite all of our friends. Haha. It was an easy sell since the majority of our friends are healthy eaters who love to have unique experiences. Our small group of four people grew to 21 in a nano second. I have to state that because we purchased tickets so early we ended up having several people back out due to unforeseen work obligations. Everyone who had to back out was able to sell or give their ticket away to another friend of ours. Luckily, it all worked out.
The ticket price comes in a little steep at $106.39 per person (including fees). The experience includes a four course meal, three drink tokens for the bar stocked with premium beers, wine, and bourbon lemonade, a live band, gourmet s’mores bar, access to the farm’s grounds (which were super cute by the way), and a small farmers market. I have to say, when you factor in everything that’s included the price is more than fair. Again, an easy sell to Chicagoans who expect any dinner to cost about that much per person. #citylife
My husband and I decided to charter a limo bus to take all of our city friends to the farm. It was the best idea ever. We hired Windy City Limousine and selected the 23 Passenger Mini Bus. It was very clean and modern with black leather interior. They allow you to BYOB and drink during the ride making the hour long commute that much more fun. Shout out to Locavore Farm for being ridiculously generous and allowing us to BYOB a drink or two on their grounds before the event started! Seriously so, so nice of them.
Upon our arrival, we were welcomed by a man who calls himself “Uncle Bob”. He provided each of us with our three drink tokens and our evening began! The farm is just stunning and the grounds are well kept. We decided our group needed a picture before anymore booze was flowing.
The weather was questionable, so our experience was held inside that big red barn you can see behind us. The smaller barn is where the bar is located and in the bottom right corner of this photo you can see the edge of the garden.
As we were getting acquainted with the farm, a cold tomato, cucumber, and onion soup shooter was being passed. Unfortunately, I missed out on this – it’s a lot of work to organize such a large group! I heard it was tasty though.
Around 6 pm the dinner bell rang and everyone made their way into the barn. I had messaged the farm on their Facebook page a day or two ahead of time to secure reserved seating for our group. This is ideal for large parties as it is otherwise first come, first serve seating. We literally took up half of this table. But seriously, how cute is this barn?!
The menu was solid and everything tasted super fresh and delicious!
The dessert was a red velvet mini cake with cream cheese frosting on top and a blueberry mouse on the bottom. It was an unusual combination, but was delicious! I wish I would have selected the vegetarian option as I don’t particularly love pork loin. However, all the pork loin lovers said it was the best pork loin they’ve ever had. It was thick, tender, and juicy. I loved the veggies and relish that complimented the pork loin. I could have eaten that by itself!
Our view from inside the barn was picturesque.
You’ll notice the ground was soaking wet. The weather was disgusting the entire morning. It cleared up for the afternoon and just as the second course was coming out, it DOWNPOURED. I took this photo about ten minutes after the storm had passed. The rest of the evening turned out to be perfect.
Rachel, the owner pictured above, gave a nice speech and thanked everyone for coming. She is standing next to one of the farmers market vendors. This particular vendor was selling organically grown flower arrangements for $8. You are reading that right… fresh organically grown flowers for $8 – that’s a price you don’t see in Chicago. I think we all left with a bouquet.
When dinner concluded, we all scattered around the farm. Some of us shopped the farmers market, some of us watched pigs roll around in mud, and some of us went outside to sit around the bonfire and listen to the live band. I was one of the shoppers. They had the table selling flowers, a table selling handmade lotions, oils, and lip balms, and a table selling produce. I walked away with two bouquets of flowers, two lotions, a lip balm, and a container of baby eggplants. What can I say, I live for this kind of stuff.
I finally made it back outside of the barn and finally discovered the chicken coup. How cute is this? I’m disappointed I didn’t see this when the lighting was better.
The evening concluded with everyone assembling their own gourmet s’more. I was a bit let down with the term gourmet as the only gourmet option was upgrading your marshmallow to an organic, square marshmallow. I would have loved to see various chocolates as well, but it was nostalgic nonetheless.
All in all, everyone had an incredible night dining on the land and we will absolutely be back next year. We are even considering coming back in October for Oktoberfest.