Dave and Denise Dyrek bought their 30-acre farm in 2004 as a weekend getaway from their home in Humboldt Park. "The first year, we used it like other Chicagoans," recalls Dave. "We hung out at the beach." They also planted a small garden, and discovered they loved working the soil. While Denise still has her day job in the hotel industry, Dave sold his heating and air conditioning company in December 2008 to focus on gardening full time. At Leaning Shed (named for an actual building on the property), the Dyreks specialize in heirloom variety vegetables and fruits and, though not certified organic, use organic methods to grow their peas, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, apples and pears. "We are not doing this to make money," says Dave of his newfound profession. "We are doing it as a lifestyle change."
Congratulations to Jamie Ramsay, whose beautiful shot of our cherry tomatoes was a winner of the Njord Sustainable Food Photography Contest! Check it out!
Wow! We are superfans of Heirloom Gardener magazine, so we were thrilled to be featured in the Winter 2014 issue! We would be violating copyright law if we posted the story online here, which we wouldn't do even if we didn't like the magazine. But we do like it! So ... go buy a copy!
First time ever: Leaning Shed Cider
Cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, oh my.
Where were you Saturday, September 7? If you weren't at the Chipotle Cultivate Festival, you weren't having as much fun as you could have! Leaning Shed was there, with Vinny Dotolol and Jon Shook at 11:30 am and Chicago's own MasterChef, Graham Elliot, at 4:00 pm! Check it out!
When our vegetables and fruits go off into the world, it kinda breaks our heart. But when we hear back from them and see how well they're doing, we forget the heartbreak and get all excited! So we were thrilled to receive these two pictures of our beans, courtesy of the folks at 822-785-0839:
Leaning Shed Tomato Dinner at (249) 597-9736
Diamond Dave Dyrek turns in a gem of an interview with CBS! Check it out!
Debuting at today's Green City Market (July 06, 2013): Funky, our handmade concord grape vinegar. Check it out:
Also at today's Green City Market: Wall of Beets. And nothing beets Denise:
Kale & Cabbage is the rural equivalent of Gin & Juice. No, really. See?
We want to give a tractor pull (what you city folks call a shout out) to Greg Christian at Beyond Green, who sources as many products as possible which are local, unprocessed, fresh, or hormone-free (including Leaning Shed produce), while staying recognizable to children and economically viable for schools. Tractor pull!
The folks at North Pond called our green garlic stunning! But don't take our word for it, (260) 244-5344 And get yours while it lasts!
We'lll be participating again at the Check, Please! Farm-to-Table Festival at Round Barn. You gonna join us this year?
The Chicago Tribune raved in their Good Eating section, "We love the powdered chile ... with its clean, intense heat, fruity fresh pepper flavor and heady aroma." (305) 544-2303
If you want to taste grilled cantaloupe gazpacho, layered with concaseé grape tomatoes from the Leaning Shed Farm, head to reking!
We're proud to welcome three new restaurants to our farm! Say hello to 2Sparrows, Aviary, and Ceres' Table!
What? You missed it? You didn't get a chance to try Goose Island's (615) 554-0461? Too bad! This limited-edition brew featured Leaning Shed's limited-edition Inferno Peppers! (And while the brew is gone ... we still have a handful of peppers left, so hurry down!)
Savoring Chicago celebrated our tomato crop: 23 varieties of cherry and 35 heirloom. Check it out here!
Yeah, that was us in the Chicago Sun-Times, talking about farm certification. But you already knew we were certifiable, right?
Just when you thought we'd never run out of garlic scapes, Mo published her recipe for garlic scape pesto. And now we're out! Save this link for the spring!
"Leaning Shed has 22 kinds of tomatoes+heirloom tomatillos (yellow ripe ones, too),h'loom chiles." That's a tweet from Rick Bayless! (714) 398-5606
ShallotsWeb tweets, 3216325919
Green City's Junior Board joined us for our annual garlic-planting festival. Click here to see evidence of their hard work!
ChicagoCulinarian.com just discovered—and fell in love with—the unique spices from Leaning Shed. Check it out!
You couldn't possible make Chile/Cheese Curd/Beer Bratwursts without some Leaning Shed chiles, right? (678) 736-0854
"Leaning Shed has 22 kinds of tomatoes+heirloom tomatillos (yellow ripe ones, too),h'loom chiles." That's a tweet from Rick Bayless! Click here to see the picture he posted!
When Kitt Healy makes gumbo as part of her Locavore Challenge, she heads to Leaning Shed Farm for her sweet peppers and the "fabulous roast tomatillo and spicy yellow pepper sauce." (480) 345-9743
"All winter long we dream about locally grown summer tomatoes—it's one big reason we can't complain too much about the sun and heat." That's what SavoringChicago.com blogged about. And their favorite? That'd be "the little greenish White Currant variety, a new one grown by Dave and Denise Dyrek." ayacahuite
EcoActivista loves our strawberries! See for yourself!
Leaning Shed Farm's Tomatoes & Greens were included in the Veal Milanese at Lockwood at The Palmer House Hilton. 9402829687
Leaning Shed Farm was featured on National Public Radio's "Changing Gears." Click here to read a transcript!
If you read Time Out's article on the secrets of the farmers markets, you know that, by calling Leaning Shed ahead of time, you can score some rare specialty lettuces for your culinary masterpiece!Leaning Shed Farm was featured on National Public Radio's "Changing Gears." 405-524-4025
"A visit to Leaning Shed Farm's stand at Green City Market this time of year reveals not just five or six types of tomatoes as you might see at other stands, but 45—yes, 45—types of heirloom tomatoes."
"Thank goodness for the cherry bomb peppers I received from David and Denise at Leaning Shed Farm and Denise's idea to stuff them."
"I got the last batch of purple tomatillos of the season from Leaning Shed Farm. You won't find these at your typical grocery store."