it’s not a farm. and it’s not in illinois. but just like the morels my sister hunted in nebraska a few months back, it deserves a mention. honeysuckle hill (no website, but you can find info on the pure michigan website like i did) was discovered by chance and easily ranks among the most enjoyable and memorable experiences of my life. on the trip to michigan to visit hillside orchards it was necessary to spend the night and this seemed like as good an option as any. my wife, my 2 year old son, and 2 month old son were along to keep me company when i wasn’t shooting so we had to find a comfortable and convenient place for the four of us to sleep. what we discovered however was an amazing bed and breakfast that epitomized sustainability. owners jerry and bernice renovated (mostly with their own hands) the 1800s farmhouse into a 5 room bed and breakfast complete with era furniture. also on the property is a home built in the 1960s, and occupied by a daughter, with a basement apartment – including a full kitchen and seating for at least 30 people – where we stayed. after a long day alternating from car to sun we spent what turned into an hour and a half touring the farmhouse, talking antiques, sharing our food philosophies, and discovering our shared love for oatmeal pancakes and real maple syrup. in the morning as i returned from another visit to the orchard i was greeted by jerry holding a plate of fruit. we talked for a few minutes so i could get recommendations and directions for local attractions before he headed back to the farm kitchen to get more food. what happened next was what took the trip from good to great and then to absolutely unparalleled. jerry and bernice walked down the stairs carrying a pan filled with scrambled eggs (freshly laid in their backyard), a plate filled with 5 different kinds of bernice’s homemade breads with homemade peanut butter, and, you guessed it, syrup from the property’s maple trees and more oatmeal pancakes than we could possibly eat (we smeared peanut butter between the leftovers for snacks on the car trip home). before leaving they asked if we would come back to join their friends and family for a vegetarian potluck lunch, with the promise of corn cooked over an open fire and vegetarian meatloaf (which was truly amazing). we did our best to express our gratitude and promised to return. and a few hours later we did. we were 4 strangers among 30 plus who were closely related, yet the amazing thing was that we sincerely felt at home among their family. we talked, we ate, we laughed, we ate. a few hours passed before we realized that we had to get on the road back home. again we tried to express just how perfect the experience was. they simply told us that they believe in treating others they way that they want to be treated. i’m sure glad they do.
alimental prologuephotographer justin b. paris explores the farms and practices of the growers that help make up the geneva green market (geneva, il). from marengo to west chicago, this microcosm of the local food movement shares its land, animals, vegetables, homes, and time to educate the public through justin's eyes and words.
- all content © justin b. paris 2010-2011
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