Cultivating Homegrown Goodness
by Jonathan Wright
While Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains was founded only five years ago, the Funk family legacy dates back to the early 1800s, when Isaac Funk first settled the land known as Funks Grove in McLean County. Katie and Jonathan Funk are sixth-generation Funks, who—along with Katie’s husband Jeff Hake—have run the operation since their first orchard and grain plantings in 2016.
“Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains specializes in a diverse range of fruit and grain varieties that we then turn into unique food products,” Hake explains. “We grow multiple small grain varieties, flint corn and popcorn, currants, apples, grapes, pears and more—and we also forage a number of wild foods.” They work closely with nearby Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup, using their all-natural, homegrown product to develop an ever-growing line of baking mixes, preserved fruit products and seasonal items.
“We pride ourselves on doing as much of our production and processing as possible right here in Funks Grove, and we are constantly pushing the boundaries of what we are capable of doing,” Hake adds. “We have winter barley growing on two acres, which we’ll harvest this summer. We also plan to forage wild ramps for our Maple Ramp Seasoning and harvest fruits for our Fruit Wowzers (fruit leather, similar to fruit roll-ups, but with all-local fruit and sweetened with maple sirup).”
Besides packaging their whole grains, flours and mixes from last year’s harvest, they will soon be putting yellow and black popcorn in the ground and are working to develop a variety of new maple-fruit sauces. “We're incredibly grateful for the support of our community and we plan to keep bringing you all more great food in the years to come,” Hake continues. “Someday we hope to open a diner on or near our farm—and we can’t wait to invite you to it!” funksgrovehfg.com PM