GENEVA – Inside Fuller’s Fast Stop on Geneva’s east side is Farm Fresh Foodstuffs, a new oasis in the slow food movement at 1166 E. State St.
Slow food does not mean that you wait a long time to get a sandwich, says Steve Spoerl, who co-owns the business with his wife Jennifer.
“Slow food means the animals are raised with no hormones, and they’re outdoor as opposed to an indoor feedlot,” Spoerl said. “It takes twice as long and three times more food of commercially raised animals. I just bought a grass-fed Black Angus that was 600 pounds. It took my farmer 30 months to get there. It would take a commercial farmer about 16 months, and it would be bigger.”
But the upside, Spoerl said, is the beef is not only more flavorful, it has less cholesterol than chicken.
“We have grass-fed beef, outdoor free-range chickens, eggs, pork and sausages,” Spoerl said. “When the beef is supplemented with corn, it’s non-GMO [genetically modified organism] corn the farmer grows himself.”
Spoerl, 31, of Naperville, is a 1998 graduate of St. Charles High School. This is the couple’s first attempt at a retail location.
Their store took over from a sandwich shop inside Fuller’s that closed. The Spoerls have been there about three weeks. They also sell local honey, 50 varieties of cheese, organic lunch meat, snacks and made-from-scratch soup every day at lunch time.
“Ninety-nine percent is all sourced and produced and grown in Northern Illinois,” Spoerl said. “It’s labeled as to who is making it and has minimal processing. Every piece of meat we process has on the package the name of the farmer who raised the animal. The customer will always know where it came from.”
Spoerl became interested in the slow food movement when he and his wife first got married and started paying attention to ingredient labels.
“We saw junk and chemicals and things we could not pronounce,” Spoerl said. “When you buy food from us, you know who made it or who grew it and you can pronounce all the ingredients.”
Spoerl got started in the slow food movement as a business by working with another guy and working at 20 farmer’s markets four years earlier. Then two years ago, he lost his job. With a wife and baby to support, Spoerl got creative. He started Farm Fresh Foodstuffs out of the family’s garage using a couple of unemployment checks to build a homemade trailer and buy a 15-cubic-foot freezer.
He opened a warehouse in Lombard and started a farmer’s market home delivery service in addition to doing farmer’s markets during the season.
They make 10-30 free deliveries a week, as far west as Route 47, south to Interstate 80 and north to Wisconsin.
“It took us a while when we first got going,” Spoerl said. “We make brats, cheddar brats, sweet and hot Italian sausages, breakfast sausages. My great-grandfather was a Polish butcher in Toledo, Ohio, and I have his recipe for kielbasa. That’s my next project. “
More information is available by calling 630-881-4871 or visiting www.farmfresh foodstuffs.com.