Farm owner, operator, and manager since Tomato Mountain started in 1993, Chris has worked relentlessly for over twenty years to bring fresh produce to Southern Wisconsin and North Eastern Illinois. Inspired by Yvon Chouinard's business practices at Patagonia and supported by the work of countless friends and coworkers, Chris continues to bring sustainable business practices and conscientious stewardship to Tomato Mountain Farm.
Getting our finances and records in order is a particularly complicated task, and Paul, the farm's Information Manager, is up to it.
Paul came to the farm with a background in school administration, and has a knack for detail, both in finances and in the field. He keeps all our organic certification records, manages our day-to-day finances, and takes on new projects to ensure the farm's success. In 2014, he brought our sustaining membership option from concept to fruition; in 2015, he spearheaded an effort to secure a $300,00 loan — funds that will go into improving and streamlining many segments of the farm's operation and give us the resources to continue expanding and improving for years to come. He also happens to love growing food, so he's in the right field, so to speak.
Molly has been at the farm since 2012. She initially worked picking tomatoes in our hoop houses during the hot summer months (being a tough mother of 6, she was not phased by the heat and occasionally long days). Lately, she has taken/been given major responsibility for germinating all our seedlings for field and hoop house plantings and for our plant sales.
In between, and whenever time permits/the need arises, Molly has also been in charge of overseeing the packing of CSA boxes or doing field work. However complicated the task, she always jumps in, learns quickly, and takes care of anything that comes up.
Chicago Area Sales and CSA Manager
Since Robin left in 2013, Sean has been the face behind the "info@" email address (and, as pictured, behind a couple gallons of home-made kimchi), handling your inquiries, issues, and most of the logistics involved in getting the box to your door. Also handling some farmers markets, there's a chance that you might seem him in the wild, gathering ingredients for vegan feasts... though his weekly Medium share takes care of most of his vegetable needs.
Chicago Area Sales Assistant
Sheila Essig is the "better half" of Rob Gardner; together with their two daughters, they make up The Local Family featured on The Local Beet. For several years, they've made an effort to eat locally year-round; any success they've managed has been due in large part to Sheila's frequent and creative cooking for her family. You might have met Sheila at a farmers market (Oak Park, Riverside, Independence Park, Portage Park, and more) selling for Tomato Mountain, where she often makes suggestions for incorporating our jarred products into your cooking. In her fourth season with the farm, we'll tap her for tips and recipes on this site and in our newsletters in between farmers markets.
In a past life Sheila was a public interest lawyer. She has since settled into a strong passion for issues of homelessness and hunger relief, having served on the board of West Suburban PADS, a group that works on the homelessness in her community.