A brief history of Blackberry Creek Farm by Brett Walrod.
Blackberry Creek Farm, renamed in 2011 after the creek that meanders through the east side of it, dates back to the 1840s. The farm was originally purchased from the United States Government for $9.98 ($1.25 per acre) on May 10, 1842, as a 7.99 acre parcel of land. Over the next 60 years, through a series of purchases ranging from 2.89 acres to as large as 98 acres, the farm grew to 388 acres. The purchase including Blackberry Creek was on May 12, 1849; a 16.9 acre parcel for an undeterminable amount.
In 1904, the Aurora, Dekalb and Rockford Electric Traction Company purchased a portion of the farm and intended to build commuter railroad tracks, with the stipulation that the trains could not exceed 10 miles per hour. Subsequently Aurora, Dekalb and Rockford lost or defaulted on the bonds used to finance the purchase and the land was transferred through the Chancellery Court via a Foreclosure Deed in 1918 to Philo Seavey who had begun to assemble, through a series of transactions, what would ultimately be the 388 acres. In 1923, the estate of Philo Seavey began to disperse portions of the farmland to his hires as inheritance. About the same time, the hires began to monetize their inheritance and subsequently John H. Scott purchased the 90 acres south of what is now known as Scott Road, the southern boundary of our farm.
The house and barns date back to 1848, as first referenced in the "Examination of Title" issued by the Kane County Title Company, January 11, 1940, when the remaining 50 acre farm, now known as Blackberry Creek Farm, was sold to Anthony Allegretti, who commissioned the 100 page document. In 1953, my grandfather, Phillip Conrad, traded his house in Aurora, Illinois to Anthony and Treasure Allegretti, for the farm, and began farming the land. He grew corn, and raised cattle, chickens and other fowl. My father, David Conrad, spent a portion of his young adult life on the farm beginning in 1953, after he served in the U.S. Navy patrolling the South Pacific in a submarine during WWII. I spent countless hours working and playing on the farm during my childhood. After my grandfather's death in 1957, Uncle Norman took over the farming operations until he became too old to work the land in the early 1990s. When Uncle Nor could no longer farm, he leased the land to a local farmer who grew seed corn.
When I purchased the farm from my uncle's estate in 2007, with my business partner and friend Steve Disse, I became the third generation owner dating back to 1953. Since making that emotional purchase, I have been working towards fulfilling my vision of the farm as a producer of high quality, organic vegetables, herbs and fruits. After a long search, we found an accomplished farmer, Wayne Adams, and his wife Debbie. Wayne and Debbie's arrival to the farm house in June of 2011 marked the rebirth of our American Family Farm, and the beginning of Blackberry Creek Farm.
The fall harvest of 2011 was the last harvest of GMO corn. We began to convert the land for organic production beginning in November 2011 in anticipation of vegetable production in the spring of 2012. Read on to learn what we have planned for BBCF!