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Community Rallies Around Drought Aid for Farmers (and Edgewater residents)

Harvest Moon Farms. Credit: Courtesy of Harvest Moon Farms

In their first four years as farmers, Edgewater residents Bob and Jen Borchardt have faced floods, twice, and now drought. What’s next, a plague of locusts?

“We’re really hoping one year we’ll have a normal year,” said Bob. To get to that future date, though, the couple first needs to make it past this month.

Headquartered out of Roscoe Village at 3354 N. Paulina St., the Borchardts tend 35 acres of organically grown crops in southwest Wisconsin, roughly 250 miles from Chicago. They typically harvest greens in the early part of the growing season, which they distribute to 15 Chicago-area CSA drop-off points and retail clients like Whole Foods and Mariano’s, counting on the proceeds to pay the bills until their heirloom tomatoes ripen later in the summer. But the combination of heat and drought killed a good portion of their greens — they shipped only 20 percent of what they had projected — and now the Borchardts find themselves in possession of a bumper crop of tomatoes they can’t afford to harvest.

“There are days you think, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to make it through,’” Bob said.

They’ll get by, it seems, with a little help from their Chicago friends.

The Borchardts lived in Roscoe Village for 20 years (Bob is a third-generation RV-er) and have maintained a Chicago address in Edgewater while establishing a market for their Harvest Moon Farms produce. Those connections have served them well.

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