Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Clover Valley Farm Trail: Sorestad

As the days get colder (and rainier), and the apples get ready for harvest, it can be enjoy-able to take a drive in the country, watching as the fall colors near their peak. On one of those drives, if you’re on Homestead Road, you may see a small farm called Sorestad.

Julie Allen and Bill Hall’s farm on Home-stead Road fosters a diversity of crops and sustainable agriculture. Hall is a carpenter “and can fix anything.” Allen has a background in ecology and a Masters in Environmental Education. She works part time for the Sustainable Farming Association. “We are both passionate about growing food for ourselves and our community,” Allen says. Allen and Hall have a two-year-old, who’s “a big help on the farm, he gets to be involved in almost everything we do.”

Having a farm has been “a long time dream, to have land and to make at least some of our living from it.” Allen and Hall describe themselves as “super lucky” to find Sorestad, a place that “checked most of our boxes.” They wanted to live in the Clover Valley area because of the farming community. “We’ve both worked on various farms and have been working up to having our own for the last 15 years by acquiring the skills, knowledge, equipment, flexible off-farm income, and social support to make it work,” Allen says.

The name for their farm, Sorestad, comes from Allen’s maternal grandfather’s Norwegian family name. The name was dropped by her great-grandfather at some point after his parents immigrated to the United States and had been living in northern Illinois for some time. “My grandfather only started to tell stories of his family later in life, once I was an adult,” Allen said. “He shared this, and that he was 100% Norwegian. He was a doctor by profession and a farmer at heart. Our farm name is an homage to him and that side of the family.”

Sorestad grows strawberries, melons, garlic, and apples, as well as vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, and more. They also offer cut flowers. At this point in the season, Sorestad’s farm stand is open daily during daylight hours. It is located just inside the fence on Homestead Road.

People are also welcome to reach out to place special or bulk orders. Sorestad plans to be open through most of October.

“We are passionate about growing excellent food for our community, and caring for the land which cares for us. We bought this old farmstead in 2020 and are restoring its soil, ecology, and structures so that it may produce abundantly, provide habitat for all sorts of creatures, and be a meeting place for neighbors and friends,” Allen and Hall said. “It’s important to us to live a lifestyle that is not only healthy for us, but has an impact on our world. Growing our own food means we’re not buying it from far away places, or using our food dollars to support destructive types of agriculture. We hope to inspire others to grow more of their own food, and to eventually do more educational events on the farm.”

Allen and Hall say that this farm season has been good for Sorestad. “We will always be learning and improving our systems and growing practices, and this year our yields have been much better than the last two.”

Sorestad relies on a diversity of crops, knowing “not everything will do great every year.” Allen and Hall say that the response to the Clover Valley Farm Trail has been “great, we are so appreciative of the support!”

Be sure to place your bulk order at sorestadfarm@gmail.com  or head out to the Clover Valley Farm Trail to enjoy the fall colors and rich apple harvest.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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