All hands on deck at family’s Strawberry Stewards

The residents of Mount Carroll and surrounding communities have a blooming new business located at the intersection of Illinois Route 78 and Elizabeth Road, about a mile and a half north of Mt Carroll.

“Strawberry Stewards” is a family owned and operated greenhouse by Jason and Esther Yoder.

The Yoders are not new to town, as they have been a fixture at the local farmers market offering their home grown produce to local residents.

Since relocating their family of seven to rural Mount Carroll about four years ago, the pair have always had a vision which would one day allow them to offer their goods to the public in a larger way. On April 22, that dream became a reality.

“ We chose the name Strawberry Stewards Plants and Produce because our property on West Point Road, used to be home to the old Strawberry School until about 1949, and a steward is someone who takes care of something else or property, and we take care of God’s land, so that’s where the name comes from”, Esther said.

The large greenhouse offers an enormous variety of flowers, hanging baskets, potted flowers, trellis pots, and also vegetable plants.

”This property came up for sale at the perfect time for us, offering a lot better exposure for our business. We wanted to work with living things, and gardening is that,” Esther said.

Jason and Esther have five children, four boys and a girl.

Jason said the children are very involved in the business, offering assistance in many ways at home, and now at the new business.

The children are responsible for taking care of feeder cattle and chickens, along with lawn mowing, and various other responsibilities on the homestead, he said.

Pans for the future include a produce stand, which will give customers many fresh, organic food options to choose from.

“I am very blessed by the support so far. I appreciate what the community has done for us so far with the greenhouse, and previously with the produce,” Jason said.

He noted that attention to detail is what makes their business special.

“It’s a business, but also a hobby. We try to stay away from chemicals and use a biological approach,” he said.

Having previously been employed as a dairy farmer in Wisconsin, Jason found that profession not to be conducive for the area, and decided to grow produce instead, which has allowed the family to work together.

The greenhouse is open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information, call 815-541-5761.