Jammin’ it up at Big Miniature Farms
Opened November 2020
Mount Carroll’s Historic Downtown has a new storefront, and people are lining up to get their hands on everything they have to offer. Big Miniature Farms (BMF) opened their doors in early November of 2020. They are overwhelmed by the demand for their homemade creations.
BMF was unofficially formed in the summer of 2019 by Travis and Cami Yenney when, due to an over-zealous crop of organic produce, they started selling it along with their signature horseradish jam at the local farmer’s market. Even though they have backgrounds in finance, culinary school, and manual labor, Cami and Travis never intended to turn BMF into a commercial venture.
It’s all about the jam
The horseradish jam was originally created by Travis to use on pork loin, but they realized it was too good to keep to themselves. When they brought their produce and jams to the area farmer’s markets, the jam always sold out and soon became a regional favorite. This enticed them to create more flavors. They experimented with using surplus jalapenos and cucumbers to create more jam flavors. Flavors named Carolina Rhubarb, Sweet Rhubarb, and Jalapeno and Cucumber Marmalade soon joined their product list.
BMF doesn’t use pesticide sprays or chemicals on their farm. This means they spend hours and hours pulling weeds and maintaining the plots. They start all plants from seed and seasonally offer a variety of peppers, beans, tomatoes, ground cherries, purple cauliflower, and zucchini.
Operating under the “Cottage Law” at local farmers’ markets, they were only allowed to make certain foods in their own home to sell at markets and small fairs, but they wanted to expand their reach. It became clear that in order for them to sell commercially to restaurants they needed to have a certified commercial kitchen. After speaking with their farm loan manager, they found their small farm qualified as a specialty grower and within a few months, Big Miniature Farms was designated as a Certified Specialty Grower with the USDA.
Cami and Travis love the people of Mount Carroll and the Farmer’s Market where it all started. When they saw that the old laundromat in the heart of Mount Carroll’s historic downtown was for sale, they knew it was perfect. The three apartments upstairs helped the investment with offsetting any costs for the business. In April of 2020, they purchased the property located at 120 West Market Street. After seven months of hard labor, a few setbacks, and many late nights, the commercial kitchen space and remodeled apartments were finished and ready.
A walk-up window for excellent service
Now that the commercial kitchen is open, they are looking at commercial outlets for their cheesecakes and jams. They are now in the process of remodeling the basement of the building in order to grow microgreens and salad greens year-round. Because they are a commercial kitchen they are not able to offer indoor seating. However, with the placement of doors in the building they were able to add a window and counter for walk-up service. Since opening, they have had an overwhelming response and a steady stream of customers.
Not your ordinary jams & cheesecakes
Horseradish Jam – Their #1 seller, is sweet and offers all the horseradish flavor without the heat. It’s great on pork or any meat and their vegan friends love it on vegetables. They have customers who put it in meatloaf and even on cold sandwiches.
Jalapeno Jam – This jam is all about the jalapeno flavor and is slightly spicy. Nothing is added to make it hotter; the heat comes from the jalapenos.
Cucumber Marmalade – The cucumber and lime marmalade is excellent on graham crackers or warmed up and drizzled over ice cream. It is also a great addition to hot dogs or brats as a sweet relish.
Carolina Rhubarb Jam – This jam is made with Carolina Reapers (an extremely hot chile pepper) and rhubarb. It is HOT. Customers love it on chicken, over cream cheese, and even as a topping on their cheesecake.
Sweet Rhubarb Jam – This jam was created because an older gentleman was looking for a rhubarb jam similar to what his deceased wife used to make for him. His sweet request touched Trent and Cami and the sweet rhubarb jam was born. Good news – he absolutely loved it and so did everyone else. It is one of their best sellers!
Cheesecakes – They make mini cheesecakes and 10″ cheesecakes. Specialty orders are taken on request and are willing to entertain any flavor idea–except peanuts. They are a peanut-free kitchen due to their son, Brandon, having a severe peanut allergy. Not surprisingly, their cheesecakes are a best seller.
Hours & Location
120 West Market Street
Mount Carroll Historic District, IL 61053, US
Monday: 2 PM – 7 PM
Wednesday: 2 PM – 7 PM
Saturday: 10 AM – 2 PM