Riverfront Berry Farm originated in 1994 after Bob and Coleen Blain retired as educators in suburban Chicago and returned to the Illinois farm where Bob grew up. Coleen had always kept a garden and shared her produce with friends, who enjoyed it so much they encouraged her to market and sell more of her produce, which Coleen and Bob decided to do when they retired. They started farming 1/4 of an acre at the beginning of their retirement but the farm currently exceeds 20 acres of fruit and vegetables.
Sadly, Coleen died in 2011. Her absence has resulted in a greater amount of responsibility delegated to employees, who have readily accepted the new challenges. Their input has resulted in the addition of new vegetables and added techniques in the growing, harvesting, and marketing procedures of our products.
The farm was originally purchased by Bob's grandfather, Gilbert Demierre, in 1904. Bob is the third generation of his family to operate the farm, after his father and grandfather. The farm is located in northeast Iroquois County and borders the Iroquois River, resulting in the name Riverfront Berry Farm.
Fruits grown on the farm include strawberries, red raspberries, blueberries, gooseberries, apples, cherries, peaches, and black raspberries. Vegetable crops include asparagus, garlic, sweet corn, and over 30 other garden vegetables.
Freshness and excellent quality produce are our main goals at Riverfront Berry Farm. Produce is picked fresh daily throughout the growing season, and items which benefit from cooling, such as strawberries and raspberries, are in coolers within 20 minutes of being picked. These items are sold directly from the coolers whenever possible.
We strive to have products picked and sold on the same day to ensure the freshness and quality our customers deserve.
Riverfront Berry Farm is open from May 1 through October 31. The hours are 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily during these months. It is impossible for someone to be on the premesis at all times since we are vendors at multiple farmers' markets and have other responsibilities off the farm. As a result, we use the "honor system" in the on-farm market when we are not at the farm. Signage in the market instructs customers on self selection, weighing, and packaging of the produce. Then customers are instructed to place payment of their purchase in the "Money" can and to record their purchases on the form provided. We are very proud and honored to have customers who seek out our quality produce and respect our situation enough to honestly accommodate these conditions. This system has worked very successfully since the origin of Riverfront Berry Farm, and we regularly brag about how our customers allow this system to work. They truly are wonderful people.
Riverfront Berry Farm is a member of the North American Raspberry & Blackberry Association (www.raspberryblackberry.com), Illinois Specialty Growers Association (www.specialtygrowers.org), and North American Strawberry Growers Association (www.nasga.org).