• We're 3rd, 4th and 5th generation Illinois farmers (and writers) devoted to sustainable agriculture.
  • In 1898, our great grandparents Herman and Maria Zachgo-Brockman bought their 160 acre farm near Danforth, IL.
  • Three of our siblings are farmers: Henry raises vegetables, Teresa raises fruits and herbs, and Jill raises goats and tends an orchard.
  • My brother Henry, father Herman, sister Teresa, niece Aozora, and I (Terra) all write as time permits.
  • My book, The Seasons on Henry’s Farm, was a finalist for the James Beard Award in literature and writing.
  • We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our farming and writing lives, and invite you to taste some of the fruits of our labors!

Brockman Family Farms

Henry's Farm has been providing thousands of people with over 600 varieties of great-tasting and nutritious vegetables for over two decades.

Teresa's Farms include an acre of aronia berry bushes, and 2 acres of fruits and herbs, plus a greenhouse full of organically-grown plants to start your garden.

Red Barn Farm is where Jill Brockman-Cummings and her family raise the goats who provide the main ingredient for her pure and gentle goat milk soaps.

Kira (one of Teresa’s daughters) grows over 75 varieties of flowers and creates designer bouquets for weddings and other special occasions, as well as for her CSA and farmers market customers.

Our In-Season Food & Farm Communications

Our Blog

Overview

Our blog is a rich resource of farm experiences and food information written by Brockman family members. You can browse, or search for a specific vegetable, recipe, or author using the search box or tabs. Happy reading and eating!

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Recipes

Our recipe collection features quick and easy, pure and simple recipes, that utilize the fruits, vegetables, and herbs we grow. This collection of our favorites has grown to nearly 300 recipes, easily searchable by ingredient.

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Plant Profiles

Our plant profiles provide you with inside information about the fruits, vegetables, and herbs we grow, including historical, botanical, and nutritional notes, plus other lore from seed to table.

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Farm Updates

Our farm posts reflect not only intimate details of what’s happening on our farms at a particular time, but are of enduring interest, conveying the realities of farming with nature and producing good food while sustaining the soil for future generations.

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Brockman Family Writers

Brockman family writers
    • Terra

      Terra has always been an avid reader and writer. After getting degrees in English Literature, working at The Daily Yomiuri newspaper in Japan, and working for publishers in New York City, she moved back to central Illinois. Soon she started writing the weekly Food & Farm Notes, and then published her James Beard nominated book, The Seasons on Henry’s Farm. She continues to write about food, farm, and related issues — click on over for a sampling.

      Explore Terra’s writings

    • Aozora

      Henry and Hiroko's daughter has been writing for most of her life. She began contributing to the weekly Food & Farm Notes when she was in junior high, and collected some of her farm writings from the summer before she went to college in a chapbook, “The Happiness of Dirt” (2011). Her second chapbook, “Memory of a Girl” (2016), was part of her B.A. in creative writing from Northwestern University. She is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program.

      Explore Aozora’s writings

    • Teresa

      As a contributor to the weekly Food & Farm Notes, Teresa has written about everything from the dastardly spotted wing drosophila, to capturing a swarm of honey bees, to all the different ways you can enjoy aronia berries, and the 70-some other fruits she grows. When she's not farming or writing, you will find her making beautiful quilts.

      Explore Teresa’s writings

    • Henry

      Henry writes on topics dear to him such as how and why organic farming works, why stressed plants taste better and are more nutritious than coddled ones, and how our changed climate makes it imperative that consumers support biodiverse farmers practicing resilient, restorative agriculture.

      Explore Henry’s writings

    • Herman

      Our father, a retired professor of genetics, writes about many topics, usually incorporating science, natural history, and agriculture. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the building of his family’s barn, he published “A Celebration of Family Farming,” which features some of his essays about the Brockman Centennial Farm, and the past, present and future of family farming. Herman is currently working on a series of essays, “Trees I Have Known.”

      Explore Herman’s writings

    Family History and Two Current Farming-Related Endeavors

    Brockman Family History

    Our grandparents Fred and Henrietta Brockman (lower left) farmed a quarter-section in east-central Illinois, growing fruits, vegetables, grains, pastures, and animals when “local organic” was the only kind of food there was. We are proud to continue in their footsteps.

    Explore history

    Henry’s Farm Documentary

    In 2015, filmmaker Ines Sommer began documenting Henry and his family as they faced personal, professional, and global changes impacting their ability to farm and feed people. The film will be at festivals in 2019 and in general release soon thereafter.

    The Mill at Janie’s Farm
    Jill at the mill

    Jill (Henry, Teresa and Terra's sister) is mill manager of Janie’s Mill, owned and operated by the Wilken family who transitioned Red Barn Farm to organic production. She stonemills many local organic grains into flour for home and professional use.