Between Pekin and Tremont, on Route 9, you will find Heritage Farmers Market and the Black Angus Café. If you have never had the pleasure of enjoying their naturally grown, local produce, a great home cooked lunch or locally raised beef, pork and poultry it’s time make this your next destination! When you step through the door, you will find a cozy restaurant on one side and the Farmers Market on the other, reminiscent of a General Store from years’ past. The market stocks products from over 22 different producers, all within 20 miles of the store. All the processing of the locally raised (just down the road) beef is done at the Eureka Locker, Inc. in Eureka, IL and special orders for meat cuts are always welcome and delivered on Fridays to the store for customer pickup.
Meet Doug Sassman, whose vision in 2005 has evolved into the current Heritage Farmers Market and Black Angus Café. Doug’s first taste of selling his farm product came when he was able to sell his beef to several upscale Chicago restaurants. This experience got him thinking…perhaps local people would want to buy locally grown products - including his meat and maybe more? He decided to create his own market at his “Elm Grove Farm”, selling produce out of a tent on Route 9, where his farm is located. His operation became the first farmer’s market to operate year round in the State of Illinois, and his was in a tent! By 2008, business had grown and Doug had an opportunity to move into a permanent space inside a building he owned right down the road. Suddenly, with weather no longer an issue, the possibilities were limitless. Wanting to create a space for customers to come and just “hang out”, Doug added a counter and a few tables for coffee and a cinnamon roll in the morning. The room next door became available, and Doug was able to move the Farmers Market to the right side of the building and the restaurant grew to fill the left, with the addition of Saturday breakfast and later, lunch specials Monday- Saturday. All this from a man who started his adult life in the Army, where he became a drill sergeant and after his service, a logger in Northern Minnesota. Next came time as a DNR Ranger and later as a Forest Ranger with the National Park Service in Yosemite. After he was given an opportunity to work at the park service in Washington D.C., which held little interest for him after his time in the vast area of Yosemite Natl. Park, he decided it was time to come back to his roots. He and his bride were able to purchase the farm he had always dreamed of…the one right next to where he grew up…the one on Route 9 between Pekin and Tremont, right down the road from Heritage Farmers Market and the Black Angus Café.