WiseAcre farm provides fresh produce to Glenview residents


Hayden Hunter and Yasna Qureshi

Fresh, organic produce, with no pesticides and herbicides used, are all grown locally in Glenview on WiseAcre farm. Founder Aviad Sheinfeld runs this hydroponic farm with his immediate family, including his daughter, 2017 South alumna Yael Sheinfeld, who handles marketing and communication tasks for the farm.

Since Aviad was 6-years-old, he spent his summers shadowing his grandfather on his grandparents’ farm. He developed the idea of starting a hydroponic farm, which uses mineral solutions rather than soil to grow plants, when he was working at a private school, looking for a hands-on supplement for the science curriculum.
At WiseAcre Farm, Aviad handles the growing and harvesting with his father, Sam Sheinfeld, as there are many plants to care for, including lettuce, herbs and other greens.

“I work with my dad inside the farm, [doing the] physical work of planting, growing, seeding and harvesting,” Aviad said. “I [work at the farm] with my dad in the morning and depending on the day of the week, we have a weekly cycle [of tasks] that we go through.”

All the produce on the farm is grown without soil and is instead grown with a two part nutrient solution. Aviad uses heaters that help maintain the greens and also has pumps that inject nutrients into the plants.

“We have a two-part solution, one part is a solution for greens, while the second part is diluted Epsom salt that [provides] magnesium and sulfur,” Aviad said. “We have a cycle set up that circulates water through heaters that constantly measure temperature, pH and electric conductivity. When those settings get out of line, then we have pumps that inject those nutrients as well as pH if it’s too high, or too low.”

Regarding commercial aspects of the farm, Yael oversees the subscription programs that the farm offers. “Lettuce Club” and “Farmers Bounty” are flexible programs allowing subscribers to have biweekly or weekly deliveries of produce. When purchasing a subscription the subscriber gets a variety of greens to pick from to include in their box, Yael explained.

“We have two main types of subscriptions,” Yael said. “The “Farmers Bounty”, which is both lettuce and non-lettuce items such as greens and herbs, and then the “Lettuce Club”, which is just lettuce. Every session is 10 weeks long and when it’s bi-weekly, meaning every other week, you get five deliveries over the course of 10 weeks.”

Sandy Brennan, a parent of former South students, is also a local customer of WiseAcre farm. While she has her own garden, she still enjoys getting weekly deliveries of produce from the farm.

“I have the weekly [subscriptions], so it’s six lettuces and two herbs and they’re delicious,” Brennan said. “Because [the produce is] picked that day, you can’t get any fresher. It’s even better [quality] than the lettuce I grow in my own garden.”

Although WiseAcre farm provides subscribers with fresh produce, it also provides multiple organizations with these greens. The farm donates the remainder of goods not purchased to organizations such as the Northfield Township Food Pantry, Niles Township Food Pantry, the Self Help Closet and Pantry of Des Plaines, Aviad said.

“We end up donating [produce] every week,” Aviad said. “It’s always nice to donate, but specifically over the last year [with] Covid-19, there has been so much need. Fresh produce is hard to come by, and it makes us feel good to help out.”