Radically Better Food
The people who grow and raise our ingredients are at the core of our business. Our farmers are as much a part of the Simple Food Group family as any employee, owner, or customer, and we are deeply committed to caring for them.
The call to radically better food has led us to build stronger relationships with every player in our food chain, starting with our farmers. We cook our food respectfully and thoughtfully because we know the stories of love, sweat, and tears that went into producing each fresh ingredient. To us, it’s more than finding ingredients to make our food; it’s also about supporting the businesses behind those ingredients.
Each of our farmers has a unique story to share. We are delighted to share a small part of those stories. Once you know where your food is coming from, we know you’ll taste the difference on your plate.
Our Local Partners
Alden Hills – Located in Walworth, Wisconsin, Alden Hills Organic Farms has one mission: to provide you and your family with the healthiest, highest-quality pastured meats that we can produce. Specializing in grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, eggs, garlic and popcorn and deliver weekly to various Chicago locations.
Colectivo Coffee – Started in an old Milwaukee warehouse in 1992, Colectivo has been hand-roasting every batch of coffee with intentionality and integrity for over 25 years. Now based in Chicago, IL, Colectivo still maintains their ethical business model today.
Hafs Apple Orchards – Located in Genoa City, Wisconsin, Hafs Apple Orchard planted their first trees in 1992. Today they grow 50 varieties of apples. In the fall, their Northern Spy apples feature in our delicious dutch apple pie, as well as scones and danishes. They also make the hot apple cider that we are happy to serve to guests during the fall and winter months.
Hemken Honey – A family owned Honey Producer in Big Bend, WI. They promote the art of beekeeping and benefits of using local honey through education of consumers, new beekeepers, school groups and community programs. In 1996 Andy Hemken started with 2 beehives, he currently admits to 400. After 30 years of safety and ergonomics consulting, he followed his passion and became a beekeeper. In the bakery, Hemken Honey is sold as a retail item and goes into making our granola, sweet scones and honey wheat bread!
Hill Valley Dairy – Made up of two parts, the dairy is run by Frank and Colleen Henningfeld, who care for a herd of 65 milking cows, affectionately known as “the girls.” The other half is the creamery run by Ron Henningfeld. Creation of the cheese starts in the field, where the 65 milking cows and Romari Farms are given as much air and good food on the 240 acre farm can sustainably produce. Every Sunday, a milk truck from Clock Shadow Creamery picks up the milk from the dairy and delivers it to Clock Shadow Creamery in Milwaukee where Ron Henningfeld, cheesemaker, produces his small-batch cheeses. In the bakery, Ron’s cheese curds are featured in our cheese curd sourdough and jalapeno cheese curd sourdough. His gouda is featured in the ham and cheese croissant.
Hometown Sausage Kitchen – Located in East Troy, WI, Hometown is owned and operated by John and Elena Hudoc and Thomas Cicero. All of their sausages are made with recipes made by the Austrian founder of the company, John Vogel. In the bakery, we use their bacon ends in our pork belly sourdough, ham in our ham and cheese croissant, and breakfast sausage in our sausage and cheddar scones.
River Valley Ranch – A local company that’s been in business for 40 years, River Valley Ranch provides button, oyster, portabella, cremini, and shiitake mushrooms to many restaurants in northern IL and southern WI. You will find their canned goods on our retail shelves, and their mushrooms in many dishes in the Cafe. We also use their mushrooms to make special mushroom baguettes that we wholesale back to RVR!
Sassy Cow Creamery – A 1700 acre farm out of Columbus, Wisconsin, the Baerwolf family cares for over 600 cows. Their milk, cream, and buttermilk go into a great number of our breads, pastries, and cakes.
Sweet Corn Lady –A cherished local staple, the Sweet Corn Lady is famous for her bright yellow sign. She provides sweet corn, peaches, plums, nectarines, tomatoes, and melons seasonally.
The Farmstead – Part of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group in Burlington, WI. They’re a family-owned small vegetable farm on a mission: Growing for Intentional Giving. Beth and Veejay Narayanan grow beautiful produce that we use seasonally, which is especially beautiful when showcased on our focaccia bread.
Yuppie Hill Farms – Owner Lynn Lein left her career in the healthcare industry and began farming chickens in 1999, starting with only 12 chickens. The whole project began as a labor of love after her children brought home baby chicks for a school project. Now her cage free barn is home to 2,500 chickens that are still enjoying their “yuppie” life.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A LOCAL PARTNER?
We choose to partner with local people, venders, and farmers we know, who are as passionate about food as we are.
The benefits for us, for our farmers, and our community are many. Talk to Tom and let us know why you’d be a great partner.