PITTSBURG, Ill. — After all of the smells, tastes and talk about shagbark hickory, elderberries and pears does the true inspiration for Glacier’s End farm begin to emerge.
Last year, Derek and Libby Ervin put in their first planting of apple and pear trees on their 37-acre plot northeast of Marion.
“It’s a cider-centric orchard,” explained Derek. “Ultimately, we’d like to make hard cider and further down the road, brandy.”
Although the Ervin’s farm is not certified organic, the couple operates and manages it that way. The farmhouse and land belonged to Derek’s grandparents. Having completed the Farm Beginnings course by Food Works, a sustainable local food group in Southern Illinois, the Ervins are creating a year-round local food farm.
Their farm will feature seasonal produce, eggs, home-canned goods — including “grandma’s amazing pickles” — and once their high tunnel is completed, house plants and grafted fruit tree starts, as well.
They admittedly are beginning farmers. Relocated from Chicago just a few years ago, Derek is a musician and former dog walking business owner while Libby was recently in health care services. The couple met through an online dating service in Chicago.
Now they are closer to both families.
“What sets us apart in the farming arena is our uniqueness,” Libby said.
While they have their products available now at the Carbondale Winter Market on Saturday mornings at Carbondale Community High School, the couple is looking forward to joining several regional markets in Carbondale and Benton as well as community-supported agriculture shares through LEAF Food Hub, www.leaffoodhub.com, an online farmers market.
Keep up with Glacier’s End at www.glaciersend.com.