All Grass Farms is a diversified pasture farm located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, just 45 miles from the highrise office buildings of the Loop.
Cliff McConville started with 8.5 acres of woods and pastures and a small barn in Barrington Hills. At the time Cliff worked as an insurance executive in downtown Chicago. In a quest to eat healthier, he and his family began raising organic vegetables and fruits for family and friends, and in 2001, added a chicken coop for fresh eggs and occasional stewing hens.
In 2011, Cliff gave up his daily commute to downtown Chicago and began working out of a home office. Inspired by Food, Inc. and The Omnivores Dilemma, and with an extra three hours per day not spent commuting, he purchased four Angus beef calves and 25 Cornish cross broilers and began rotational grazing on the 8.5 acres. Eight Chester White pigs soon were roaming the woods near the house.
Cliff officially launched the first farm website in spring of 2012, and demand for pastured eggs, chicken, pork, and beef quickly outstripped production capacity at his house. Fortunately, he found 40 acres of vacant farmland available just five minutes away, owned by a real estate developer. Dubbed “the Ranch,” this land had formerly been a part of a larger organic beef farm, so it was already setup for grazing with fencing, an old cow shed, and a well. The Ranch became home to a small herd of grass-fed beef, and the 20 acres of overgrown woodlands on the property were soon occupied by happy hogs.
After receiving numerous requests for raw milk from grass-fed cows, we set up a small milking operation in the barn on the home property in spring of 2012, and began producing raw milk from two Guernsey cows. Requests for the raw milk grew rapidly, and within two years, the backyard was occupied by nine Guernseys. Cliff started looking for a new home for the milking operation in summer of 2013, and after many meetings and hearings, finally agreed to a long term lease for 150 acres of pastureland and a historic dairy barn located at the Brunner Family Forest Preserve on IL Rt. 31, just ten minutes from his house.
The beautiful Brunner Barn, built in 1905, had not been used for dairy operations since the 1960s, so there was a lot of work to do in the summer and fall of 2015, to get it ready to move in the dairy cows over the winter. Once the barn renovations were complete, work began on the Farm Store attached to the Brunner Barn, and it opened for business in May 2016.