Local Food Hero Spotlight on Heather Althoff from Althoff Farms
When did you start farming?
We started Althoff Farms by selling quarters of beef in 2013. We decided to add selling by the individual piece of meat & bundles in 2014 when we started to sell through the Macomb Food Coop in Macomb, IL. We added a few stores and Quincy Farmer’s Market in 2015. We also do off the farm sales and deliveries. We offer grass-fed/grass finished beef, non-GMO, grain-fed beef, and non-confinement pork.
Dan grew up on a farm raising cows and pigs and Heather helped her parents raise a big garden in her youth. We both have been working part time on the farm since 2013. We both have full time jobs, but our farm is our passion.
Why is local food important?
Local foods are important because when you get your food from a local producer, you can pinpoint where your food came from and how it is raised. There is also the economic benefit to the community. We strive to buy local to help our local economy and keep local people working. You are also keeping the dream alive for a farmer when you buy locally.
How do you sell your products?
We sell off the farm, local deliveries, through the Macomb, IL Food Coop, Grown N Gathered in Quincy, Quincy Farmer’s Market and other vendor events. We offer various meat CSA’s that include our non-GMO grain-fed beef, or our grass-fed/grass-finished beef. We do still sell quarters/halves/wholes, cow shares, and bundles. We also offer summer sausage and cheese gift baskets from October-February. We chose these distribution methods because it is what is available to us. Living in a rural area is great but also limits to how we can distribute. We’d love to add other distribution methods in the future and are always on the look out for more opportunities for growth!
How do you see your role in the community?
Our role in the community is as a supplier of good, healthy meat but also as good citizens in our community. We hope we can educate people about local foods and put a face to where they get their food.
What is your favorite growing season/crop?
My favorite season is fall. Things start to slow down a little on the farm and the fall vegetables are more flavorful in my opinion. The cooler weather makes for happier animals. We also enjoy the cooler weather after a long summer!