Our Story...

A Family Business

Grandson Xander repairing the hayrack

Our History

Mayneland Farm has been growing and selling vegetables and fruits since 1976. The original 10 acre parcel was bought in 1949. In 1952 and 1954 two additional parcels were bought completing the present 15 acres. In the mid-seventies a close family friend, Don Zietlow, interested my mother in growing and selling vegetables. We already had the farm machinery bought in the 1950s for traditional grain farming, so it was a good match. My mother grew up on a farm in West Chicago and she loved working with the soil. We provided the machinery and the Zietlow family provided the help. In 1980 they moved away to Wisconsin and I, Jeremy Mayne, took over the business. My mother was actively involved in running the farm until her death in 1993.

Farmer Mayne receiving the 2016 Outstanding Community Partner Award

Our Principles

Helping the community is key to us at Mayneland Farm. We make several donations weekly of unsold produce to the Loaves & Fishes Community Food Pantry. In 2016, our farm received the Outstanding Community Partner award from the food pantry. If your food pantry is interested in receiving donations of leftover fruits and vegetables, please contact us for more information.

Food that cannot be donated is composted on our farm and later added to our fields, which reduces food waste and increases soil health.

The view from inside one of our high tunnels

Our Practices

Mayneland Farm has specialized in growing in high tunnels which are similar to greenhouses but use solar energy instead of electrical to heat them. The plants are grown in the ground which is covered by black plastic sheeting with holes for the stems of the plants. The black plastic provides excellent weed control and warms the soil for faster growth. We presently have 15 high tunnels and also grow in open fields in the traditional manner.

We use small quantities of chemical fertilizers through drip lines to save on water as well as some organic (OMRI labeled) and conventional fungicides and insecticides. Our extensive use of high tunnels allows for minimal spraying and intensive use of our 15 acres.

Springtime

March, April, and May are months of replacing high tunnel poly covers, repairs from winter storms, as well as preparing the soil for planting. We shallow till the soil and add amendments such as leaf and mushroom compost, nitrogen, sulfur (to reduce soil alkalinity), and others based on soil tests. We also prepare the high tunnels for planting which starts early April with tomatoes. Early April also includes planting potatoes, carrots, and beets--the latter two in raised beds with sterilized soil so we don't have to use herbicides, as the weed seeds have already been eliminated. We find that sterilized soil gets slow germinating seeds like carrots off to a good start with virtually no weeding. The middle of April sees the planting of about 9,000 onion and leek transplants.

Summer

Mid-summer is a busy time at the farm. It's all about monitoring and maintaining healthy plants, checking for pests, staying on top of weeds, and bringing in the first of the main harvest we worked so hard on in Spring. Our responsible watering practices using drip irrigation makes sure our plants stay hydrated witout wasting unnecessary water, and the mulch we use retains that moisture even on the hottest days. Our high tunnels give us an advantage by letting us jump-start the growing season. That means we're harvesting our first tomatoes before the 4th of July, due to an early April planting. With our new greenhouse, we've been able to push that date even earlier!

Fall

Autumn farm work sees the continuation of our transplanting from earlier in the season, but now we're putting in the cold hardy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and greens. These thrive in the cooler temperatures. We're also removing the spent stalks and plants of the more tender vegetables from our field and composting them. This compost is then used later to enrich our soil. The warmth of our season-extending hoop houses keep vegetables that would normally wither due to cooler temperatures going strong well into the autumn. We have zucchini, tomatoes, and other warm weather crops protected in these structures so our customers can enjoy them until we close our doors in late October.