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S 18 Episode 01: Wagner Farms

Guest Pam White, former owner of Wagner Farms in Naperville, Illinois, recalls growing up on the farm, favorite memories, and lessons that apply to suburban life today.

This episode is part of Series 18: Remembering our Agricultural Heritage.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit https://www.napervilleparks.org/PODCASTS

Quote from the episode: “What I remember most was fresh air. Just the smell of fresh air, the smell of corn when it was starting to tassel. As far as sounds, it was just totally quiet. As far as tastes, we ate a lot of vegetables!  I can remember when we grew a lot of strawberries, going to the field and picking a strawberry and eating it, ripened on the vine and warm from the sun.” - Pam White

Staking tomato plants at Wagner Farms, 2017, photo from Wagner Farms Facebook page.

Aerial view of Wagner Farms

Wagner Farms

The Wagner family owned and farmed 113 acres south of Frontier Sports Complex for more than 50 years beginning in 1961. An integral part of the Naperville community, Wagner Farms sold their fresh, local produce at Wagner’s Farmstand and operated a wholesale nursery.  When the family decided that it was time to close the farm, they sold their land to Pulte homes in April 2019 for a residential development. The new housing development also is named Wagner Farms.

Pam White with her sister, Donna in 1964 

Tomato harvest

Field grown shrubs

95th Street Community Plaza

The sale of the farmland to Pulte Homes resulted in a developer donation to the Naperville Park District, per the City of Naperville’s land-cash ordinance. This cash-in-lieu donation provided major funding for the 95th Street Community Plaza, a welcoming space for those of all ages and abilities.

Naperville Park District gratefully acknowledges the Wagner family and Pulte homes for their support of the development of the 95th Street Community Plaza. Additionally, Pulte Homes made a voluntary contribution to the Naperville Park District over and above the cash-in-lieu donation in honor of the Wagner family. The new performance pavilion at the plaza is named Wagner Family Pavilion.

Wagner Family Pavilion at 95th Street Community Plaza, photo taken in April 2020, opening summer 2020.

Ways to Support Local Agriculture

Support local farmers by visiting the 95th Street Farmers Market, co-hosted by Naperville Park District and Naperville Public Library, held in the 95th Street Library parking lot on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m.

Consider renting a garden plot at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots. Annual rentals open with spring program registration.

Visit local farm stands, such as Keller’s Farmstand and Mayneland Farms, participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Green Earth Harvest, or contact a grower directly to purchase meat, eggs, honey, etc.

Some of the produce sold at the 95th Street Farmers Market


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