About our farm
Welcome! Willow City Farm is a small-scale diversified farm in Central Illinois. The farm does not just produce one or two products like a typical farm, instead it operates more like a homestead and produces a multitude of crops and livestock which support each other using permaculture and other organic methods.
We understand that education is key, and we are constantly learning and sharing what we learn with others. Our form of agriculture is the science and art of sustainability.
Our philosophy is that farming practices should leave the soil, air, water, plant life, animals and people healthier – and happier. We are a proud micro farm (a.k.a. small family farm), farming under 100 acres.
Some years ago, I decided to purchase a small coop and a few chicks, and began to raise chicken in my backyard. It quickly went from a hobby, to a passion, to a way of life. In June of 2014, while attending a concert, I wrote that wanted to "Start a Farm" before I die. They say, if you have a goal, write it down and tell a friend. It was the push I needed. Within four months, I would make it happen.
I convinced my family that I wasn't TOTALLY crazy, and they allowed the move to a four-acre farm right in the middle of the city with our six children. (They knew I was crazy, but it could have been worse, right? Um, probably not.) With lots of hard work and effort, Willow City Farm began with a large flock of chicken and a few goats. We've now grown to alpaca, ducks, turkeys, sheep, cows, rabbits, dogs, pigs, horses, and a leopard gecko. It's always expanding. (I WILL find my zebra!!)
In January 2015, we purchased our first calf with the idea of providing our family with a freezer of beef. We quickly realized that it was something we wanted to provide to our customers, and our herd began. We now have over 60 head of cattle. Our stock is mostly Black Angus, with the exception of a few Hereford and Black Baldies.
Most of our cattle are raised on our "big farm" about 15 miles outside of Springfield. They are free to roam over 90 acres of lush pasture, and they are fed our own high quality grass and alfalfa. When requested by our customers, they are finished with high quality grain grown on our own farm. The big farm is also home to three of our six horses who help us sort cattle from time to time. We are happy to give tours of BOTH farms. Just call us to schedule an appointment. We have an open farm policy (as long as you steer clear from the paddocks holding our cattle - especially the bull pen) and you can even drive by and watch our cattle, alpaca, and horses graze from the side street of the property. You will most likely see us working in the pasture, so be sure and wave!
We are licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to process our own poultry at the farm, grade and sell eggs to individuals as well as retail markets, and have a meat and poultry brokers license that allows us to sell retail cuts to individuals, retail markets, and restaurants.
In 2016 we began our Test-A-Nest chicken rental program and private preschool tours. In the Spring of 2016 we participated in our first "pop-up" with a local bakery and have made it an ongoing even on the last Sunday of each month. In June of 2016 we took our farmstand on the road and began participating in the Illinois State Fair farmer's market on Thursday evenings and the Downtown Farmer's Market in Springfield on Saturday mornings.
In January of 2017 Willow City Farm opened up our first retail store, The "Willow City Farmstand" @ 731 South Durkin Drive in Springfield, IL.
In December of 2017 we found our new farm! Our animals and family now live on the amazing original R. Bomke Homestead in Pleasant Plains, Illinois, in the most perfect and charming farmhouse. This homestead in an 84 acre plot on Bomke Road and was originally built in 1887 by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bomke. We are humbled and grateful that Art and Ann (Bomke) Charland have allowed us to continue the farm's rich history as a working, sustainable farm in central Illinois. Most of our barns and buildings are original and come with a unique story. We'd love to share it with you, so be sure to sign up for our farm tours, or rent the farm venue for your next party or field trip!
In June of 2018 Tara won the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Springfield Chamber of Commerce.
I encourage you to sign up for our email list so you can hear about what adventure I'm up to next.
I am committed to raising a product we are proud to serve our family and yours. I am passionate about local foods, the success of local farms, and their families. I encourage everyone to #knowyourfarmer and #knowyourfood.
- Tara Davlin, Owner and Operator of Willow City Farm
"Raising my own animals gives me direct control over my family's food supply. By practicing sustainable farming & treating our animals humanely, the end result is always better-tasting, real meat. I always say our meat animals have a great life and one bad day, ;-)" - Tara Davlin, Owner