A Little Time and a Keyboard: Farm Meanders and Shopping Local Products at Brunner Family Forest Preserve in Dundee, Illinois

Friday, March 19, 2021

Farm Meanders and Shopping Local Products at Brunner Family Forest Preserve in Dundee, Illinois

 Farm Meanders and Shopping Local Products at Brunner Family Forest Preserve in Dundee, Illinois

Fresh Air and Farm Fun at Brunner Family Forest Preserve in Dundee, Illinois

Brunner Family Forest Preserve welcomes visitors to explore an incredibly unique forest preserve in the Chicago area that not only includes hiking trails but also a working farm and a farm store. We do actually have a few local preserves that feature working farms -- each presenting its own distinct flavor. However, the Farm Store adds a particularly fantastic element to the adventure providing a space to pick up locally farmed items focusing on organic and grass fed.

Cattle enjoying the pasture at Brunner Family Forest Preserve!
Cattle enjoying the pasture at Brunner Family Forest Preserve!

Initially, we had difficultly conceptualizing the adventure we before us. We have been to little farm preserves before with just a few farm animals. But, the farm situated in the preserve is quite sizeable which we noted upon spotting the cows in the field as we turned in to arrive at our destination!

The barn at All Grass Farms invites you forward to an afternoon on the farm!
The barn at All Grass Farms invites you forward to an afternoon on the farm!

An Afternoon on the Farm

The parking for the preserve right next to the barn. You will see a a preserve map which will help orient. We embarked on the path right behind the barn. Of course. we had to pause to say 'Hi' to a goat friend! Later, the goats were playing who get to stand on the upside wash bin. Pretty fun! We always love their antics!

Hello goat friend! Learning about farm animals at Brunner Family Forest Preserve is an added bonus.
Hello goat friend! Learning about farm animals at Brunner Family Forest Preserve is an added bonus.

We also passed a huge pen full of chickens with the gentlest dog watching out for them. The dog actually let the chickens climb right over him! I know at least one of my girls would have been annoyed.

Chickens wandering in the large pen at All Grass Farms in Dundee, Illinois
Chickens wandering in the large pen at All Grass Farms.

Discovering the Nature of Brunner Family Forest Preserve

Soon, we forged a path between tall straw grass on one side and a few trees along a stream on another. 

Grasses of the pasture yielding to a wooded grove at Brunner Family Forest Preserve.
Grasses of the pasture yielding to a wooded grove.

Brunner Family Forest Preserve is an incredible 741 acres hugging along the Fox River. Two streams traverse the property. We crossed a bridge over one of the streams bubbling with spring exuberance.

Bridge crossing a tumbling stream at Brunner Family Forest Preserve

One of my favorite elements of spring is the rush of water in brooks, streams and rivers.  Along a few of the meanders of the stream, we paused absorbing the beauty of the changing of the seasons.

Idyllic scene as a stream meanders through trees, tall grasses and chunky rocks at Brunner Family Forest Preserve in Dundee, Illinois
Idyllic scene as a stream meanders through trees, tall grasses and chunky rocks.

We found a variety of footpaths to wander. I am not sure if they are apparent during warmer seasons when the grass comes in. But, we enjoyed them during our late winter excursion. 



All Grass Farms does have farm tours May 1-Thanksgiving every Saturday at 2PM. They are free and involve a wagon ride throughout the farm. Boots are recommended because the farm can be muddy. Strollers are not really functional on the tour as the long grass is an impediment.  All Grass Farms does invite visitors to also watch milking of the cows on Saturdays at 4:30PM. However, be cautious and listen to instruction because you do not want to scare the cows.



After our gentle wander, we headed to the Farm Store. We were surprised by how many items produced by local farms and makers are in the store! I came home with delicious goat cheese from a coop, Midwest made stone ground mustard and locally made lemongrass lip balm. Grass fed meats, local honey, minimally processed items, produce which fluctuates seasonally, sauces, dips, farm fresh eggs and so much more can be found in the store! Sometimes, they have duck eggs. They do have a CSA to check out as well. Please check with All Grass Farms for more details and hours.

We enjoyed our little adventure on the farm at Brunner Family Forest Preserve! The preserve provides for a unique local adventure while enjoying fresh air and a healthy walk. We also enjoyed bringing home a few farm goodies! Brunner Family Forest Preserve is across the Fox River from Fox River Shores Forest Preserve. If you would like to extend your stay in the area, I recommend also visiting there for some fantastic views!

**Please note that masks are not required in the Farm Store. However, only 4 people can enter at a time. No one else was inside when we were there.

Farm Meanders and Shopping Local Products at Brunner Family Forest Preserve in Dundee, Illinois





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