Spurgeon Veggies is a small, diversified, family-owned, dual-farm operation. The original farm is situated on 50-acre property just on the eastern edge of East Galesburg. The farm utilizes only about three of those acres, while the rest is planted in native hardwood trees, providing a beautiful natural habitat for local wildlife. Our newly added farm in Rio is about 30 acres, just north of Galesburg, with a pond and beautiful rolling pasture hills. Here we grow the majority of our crops on an eight acre field and operate a small farm stand. Between the two farms, we grow nearly every vegetable possible for Illinois and care for over a hundred laying hens. The farms provide enough produce to sustain our 100-member CSA, our farm stand, an always well-stocked booth at the Galesburg Farmers’ Market, and support several local restaurants.
Eloise and Dusty Spurgeon – founder and daughter-in-law manager, respectively – make environmentally conscious land management a priority. We use a small, highly efficient walk-behind tractor as our primary work horse (pictured). This sort of tractor is perfect for our small acreage, effectively handling all of our plowing, tilling, and heavy mowing. Nothing is wasted on the farm; imperfect produce becomes a treat for the laying hens, who then produce awesomely delicious eggs, and manure we use to fertilize and maintain our soils. We actively avoid the use of harsh chemical pest and weed controls, instead relying on more sustainable methods, including crop rotation, cover cropping, row covers to protect our crops from insects and small animals, and composting. If insect pests become too much of a problem, we generally use only certified organic controls. The farm itself is not certified organic, but we do take steps to follow organic guidelines – we like munching on produce while we work in the field and feeling safe about what we eat! Most of the farm work, like plowing, planting, harvesting, cleaning, and packaging, is handled almost exclusively by Dusty and Eloise. Our husbands offer extra help when we really need it in the busy season, but for the most part, we manage it all ourselves. Both of us have been through GAPS (good agricultural practices) training, and we place a heavy emphasis on food safety.
You can find us at the Galesburg Farmers’ Market every Saturday with our seasonal produce and eggs, as well as handmade, heavy duty baskets from Ghana. The market runs from 8-12 May through October, and we’re there for the whole season.
Our 100+ laying hens (along with a couple of protective roosters) provide plenty of entertainment for us as well as fresh eggs. All of the chickens live in a large enclosed pasture, giving them plenty of space to run around, catch bugs, and take dust baths after laying their eggs in the morning. We supplement their regular feed with all kinds of vegetables and greens from the gardens, which they love. We keep a variety of heritage breeds, including orpingtons, barred rocks, australorps, among others.
We always welcome visitors and tour groups, so if you or your organization would like to check out the farm, feel free to get in touch with us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.