Our Story

Our Story

Mission: Our mission is to make great healthy foods available to everyone by supporting our local farms. We are committed to bringing you the freshest organic and natural foods in the most sustainable way.

What We Do: We make healthy food deliveries to homes and businesses all year-round. You get to choose from the best organic produce, grass-fed meats, farm fresh eggs & dairy, baked goods, seasonal boxes and other tasty grocery items. How It Works

Your Health Partner: We have lots of fun, easy and delicious recipes for you! We also partner with wellness professionals to provide nutrition tips so you can eat and stay healthy. Recipes

A Community Partner: We partner with community groups, food pantries and schools to promote access to healthy food and green living. Our support of over 100 urban and rural Midwest farms has led to expanded food production, employment and income. 

Who We Are: We are Irv Cernauskas and Shelly Herman. We have raised our kids Miles and Lia here in the Midwest, cooking and eating the bounty of our hard working farmer friends. We are passionate about good food and good health, both for our own family and all communities.

When we met at MIT pursuing our MBAs, we envisioned using our new business skills for social good—healthier people, healthier communities, a healthier planet. Shelly went off to work in community economic development for 20 years investing in underserved areas. Irv became involved in nonprofit environmental activities and creating markets for local farmers.

Why We Started Fresh Picks: Our farmer friends work hard to grow good food; food with no chemicals, no hormones, no antibiotics, no GMOs. They wanted to spend more time farming and less time marketing, packing and trucking their food. We also realized that people needed an easier way to get this fresh healthy food in a convenient year-round way. So we started Irv & Shelly's Fresh Picks(R) to grow a better food system, one that supports our small independent farmers and feeds all of us.

Why Local

Our mission is to make it easy to get great local food by rebuilding the connection between urban areas like Chicago & Milwaukee and surrounding farms. From growing the supply of organic food from small farms, to our efficient packing and delivery operation, we are committed to bringing you the freshest food in the most sustainable way.

Fresh Healthy Food—It Tastes Great!
Food grown locally is picked at its peak of flavor because it can get to you quickly, unlike food that is shipped long distances and picked early for long shelf life. Not only is local food fresher and great tasting but its ripeness means it is packed with more vitamins and minerals for your good health. Being in tune with the land by eating local seasonal fare provides needed diversity in our diet and comfort from warming and cooling foods that match the seasons.

Know Your Farmer
Here at Fresh Picks, we buy from over 100 farmers we personally know and trust. We extend this real and personal connection to you and the broader Fresh Picks Community when we deliver the great food our farmers have worked hard to grow in the most humane and environmentally sound way. You’ll feel good knowing exactly where your food came from, how it was raised and that you are supporting small independent farmers rather than large corporate industrial farming operations.

Support A Better Environment
Most food in this country is grown on large corporate factory farms that use pesticides, antibiotics and hormones that pollute the soil, water supply, air and wildlife all around them. The food then travels an average of 1500 miles to a retail location where it is sold, creating significant greenhouse gas emissions along the way. Local sustainable farms preserve our environment.

At Fresh Picks we will provide the greatest choice and abundance of local food as part of our goal for a better environment. By delivering our products to your door, we hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from grocery shopping car traffic, saving 50-100 car trips a day for each van of deliveries. We will consolidate truck trips of food getting to our warehouse from multiple farmers and use minimal packing and reusable bins when filling your orders of fresh food.

Grow the Local Economy
When we buy local food, we are participating in fair trade and supporting the livelihoods of farm families and their local workers. They then support other local businesses creating a multiplier effect for rebuilding the local rural economy. Our small Midwest business has grown with our farmers as we have helped them increase their supply of fresh healthy food for all of us.

Come join our local food community!

Local Farmers

Our mission is to make it easy to get great local food by rebuilding the connection between urban areas like Chicago & Milwaukee and surrounding farms. We are working with the wonderful farmers and local food makers listed here and many more to increase the supply of fresh local organic food. You can read more about them and how they farm the land to yield delicious harvests while protecting our health and the environment.

            • Angelic Organics
              John Peterson

              Caledonia, IL
              Vegetables
              Certified Organic

            • Blue Moon Farm
              Jon Cherniss

              Urbana, IL
              Vegetables
              Certified  Organic

            • Bob's Fresh & Local
              Bob Vierow
              St. Charles, IL
              Vegetables
              Organically Grown

            • Breslin Farms
              John & Molly Breslin

              Ottawa, IL
              Grains & Beans
              Certified Organic


            • Carr Valley Cheese
              Sid Cook
              La Valle, WI
              Cheeses

            • Castle Rock Organic Dairy
              Wayne & Carla Kostka

              Osseo, WI
              Milk & Cheese
              Certified Organc & Grass-Fed
               
            • Coldbrook Farm
              John Pilcher

              Crete, IL
              Aronia Berries
              Organically Grown
            •  
            • Co-op Sauce
              Mike Bancroft
              Chicago, IL
              Hot Sauce
               
            • Country View Dairy
              Dave & Carolee Rapson
              Hawkeye, IA
              Yogurt 
               
            • Daniel Yoder's Sugar Shack
              Daniel Yoder

              Westby, WI
              Maple Syrup
              Certified Organic
               
            • Delightful Pastries
              Dobra Bielinski and Stasia Hawryszczuk
              Chicago, IL
              Pastries and Baked Goods

            • Dotson's Farm
              Josh Dotson

              Lynwood, IL
              Vegetables

            • Driftless Breeze
              Levi Miller

              Monroe, WI
              Vegetables
              Certified Organic

            • Driftless Organics
              Josh and Noah Engel

              Soldiers Grove, WI
              Vegetables & Sunflower Oil
              Certified Organic
               
            • Flint Ridge Organic Produce

            • Food For Thought
              Timothy Young
              Honor, Michigan

              Preserves, Butters, Dried Fruit
              Certified Organic
               
            • Frontera
              Rick Bayless
              Chicago, IL
              Prepared Foods
            •  
            • Gentle Breeze
              Eugene Woller
              Mt. Horeb, WI
              Honey

            • Goldmine Farms
              Jack Erisman

              Pana, Illinois
              Beef
              100% Grass Fed, Organically Grown

            • Green Earth Institute
            • Growing Home
              Harry Rhodes

              Chicago, IL
              Vegetables, Herbs
              Certified Organic
            • Growing Power
              Will and Erika Allen

              Milwaukee, WI and Chicago, IL
              Vegetables
              Organically Grown

            • Green Acres Farm
              Brent and Beth Eccles
              North Judson, IN

              Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs
              Organically Grown


            • Gunthorp Farms
              Greg and Lei Gunthorp
              La Grange, Indiana

              Free-Range Chicken, Duck & Pork

            • Harmony Valley Farm
              Richard de Wilde & Andrea Yoder

              Viroqua, Wisconsin
              Vegetables & Berries
              Certified Organic
               
            • Hedgerow Farm
              Andy Kaufmann
              Sullivan, IL
              Eggs
              Pastured Raised, GMO Free
               
            • Henry's Farm

            • Hill & Valley Produce
              Brian Wickert

              Hillsboro, WI
              Vegetables & Fruit
              Organically Grown

            • Hillside Orchards
              Paul & Sarah Thelen

              Berrien Springs, MI
              Fruit
              Integrated Pest Management
               
            • Hungry Monkey Baking Company 
              Cindy Kienzle
              Lake Forest, IL
              Baked Goods
               
            • Igl Farms
               
            • Illini Pasterized/Grassfed Poultry

            • Intelligentsia Coffee
              Doug Zell and Emily Mange
              Chicago, IL
              Coffee
               
            • Jake's Country Meats
              Nate and Lou Ann Robinson
              Cassopolis, MI
              Fish
               
            • John Hochstetler

            • Windy Prairie
              Keith & Anne Clute
              Fowler, IN
              Vegetables
              Certified Organic
               
            • Katherine Ann Confections

            • Karma Kombucha
              Susan Fink
              Vernon Hills, IL
              Kombucha
              Certified Organic

            • Keewaydin Farms

            • Kilgus Farmstead
              Paul and Carmen Kilgus
              Fairbury, IL
              Dairy
               
            • Kinnikinnick Farm

            • Lamer's Dairy
              Appleton, WI
              Dairy
              rGBH Free 
               
            •  Larry Schultz Organic Farm
              Certified Organic
               
            • Lilybel Microgreens
              Beth Spatz
              Lake Bluff, IL
              Microgreens
              Certified Organic
               
            • Living Water Farms
              The Kilgus & Schneider Families
              Strawn, IL
              Specialty Greens & Micro Greens
              Organically Grown
               
            • Local Folks Food
              Steve and Anita Spencer
              Sheridan, IN
              Prepared Foods
              Organically Grown

            • Lonesome Stone Milling
              Dave Dolan, Dennis Dochnahl, and Tom Martin  
              Lone Rock, WI
              Flour, Corn Meal, other Grains
              Certified Organic
               
            • Manna Organics
              Lisle, IL
              Breads, Dried Fruit & Nut Butters
              Certified Organic
               
            • Metropolis Coffee Company
              Jeff and Tony Dreyfuss
              Chicago, IL
              Coffee
              Organic 
               
            • Mick Klug Farms
              Mick Klug
              St. Joseph, MI
              Fruit & Vegetables
              Integrated Pest Management
               
            • MightyVine
              Rochelle, IL
              Tomatoes
              Integrated Pest Management
               
            • Morris Mast
               
            • Nichols Farm & Orchard
            • Nordic Creamery
               
            • Old Plank Farm
               
            • Organic Matters
              Orion, Akeisha, & Jaden Lane
              Fairfield, IA
              Vegan Popcorn
              Certified Organic
               
            • Organic Valley
               
            • Oriana's Oriental Orchard
              Oriana Kruszewski
              Winslow, IL
              Fruit
              Certified Organic
               
            •  
            • Phoenix Bean
              Jenny Yang
              Chicago, IL
              Tofu
              GMO Free
               
            • Plainview Turkey Farm
              Cashton, WI
              Turkeys
              Certified Organic 
               
            • Pleasant  House Bakery
               
            • Pleasant View Turkey Farm
               
            • Plow Creek Farm

            • Prairie Fruits Farm
              Leslie Cooperband & Wes Jerrel
              Champaign, IL
              Goat Cheese
              Organically Grown

            • PrairiEarth Farm
              Hans Bishop
              Vegetables & Herbs
              Certified Organic 
               
            • Pristine View Farm

            • Quiver Creek Farm


            •  
            • River Valley Ranch
              Eric Rose
              Burlington, WI
              Mushrooms & Prepared Foods
              Certified Organic (Mushrooms)
               
            • Sandhill Cranberry


            • Smits Farm
              Carl Smits
              Chicago Heights, IL
              Vegetables & Herbs
              Organically Grown

            • Springdale Farm
              Peter & Bernadette Seely
              Plymouth, WI
              Vegetables
              Certified Organic

            • Stateline Produce
              Harvey
              Lime Springs, IA
              Vegetables
              Certified Organic 

            • Stover Farm

            • Stoltzfus Farm

            • Sunny Side Produce


            •  
            • The Eating Well
              Daniel Sikorski
              Hillside, IL
              Veggie Patties

            • TJs Pastured Free Range Poultry
              Tim & Julie Ifft

              Piper City, IL
              Poultry
              Free Range

            • Traders Point Creamery
              Fritz & Jane Kunz

              Zionsville, IN
              Dairy
              Certified Organic & Grass Fed

            • Triple "S" Farms
              Stan Schutte

              Stewardson, IL
              Meat, Poultry, Vegetables & Eggs
              Certified Organic & Organically Grown
               
            • The Urban Canopy
              Alex Poltorack
              Chicago, IL
              Vegetables & Herbs
              Organically grown

            • Vosges Chocolates
              Katrina Markoff
              Chicago, IL
              Chocolatier
              Certified Organic
               


            • Windy City Harvest
              Chicago, IL

              Vegetables
              Certified Organic

Community Partners

Every year, Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks partners with nonprofit organizations to further our missions and improve our communities throughout Chicagoland. Sometimes our connections revolve around food access, or health or land preservation while other times the issues have broad themes like living green, supporting local economies and nourishing our children. We want to let you know about some of the great organizations we support and give you the opportunity to get involved, make a donation or just simply be inspired!

This month's community partner is Angelic Organics Learning Center!

Angelic Organic Learning Center was established as the 501(c)(3) non-profit educational partner to Angelic Organics CSA farm in 1999 in order to establish a learning center that would foster a vibrant local food economy.  The Learning Center now reaches more than 5,000 people annually. 

Their On-Farm Programs include workshops, field trips, summer camps, and most recently, educational farm stays at Angelic Organics Lodge.  These programs engage the whole person, providing a deeper understanding of food, farming, and the environment. The Learning Center is helping people learn and adopt sustainable, organic, and biodynamic farming practices.

Their Upper Midwest CRAFT farmer training alliance joins more than 200 members within the sustainable & organic food system. The Stateline Farm Beginnings program has graduated nearly 300 sustainable farmers since 2006 and The Learning Center also coordinates Urban Agriculture Programs in Rockford and Chicago. Their food & farm advocacy work helps transform local and national policies. 

Founding member of the Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance

Angelic Organics Learning Center and several farmers came together with Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks to form the Fresh Picks Farmer Alliance, now in its first full season!  The Alliance is working hard to grow sales for local farmers to consumers, chefs, groceries, businesses and institutions while creating efficiencies in post-harvest handling, transportation, distribution and traceability. 

Some of the wonderful organizations we have partnered with previously include:

Angelic Organics Learning Center
Climate Cycle
Common Threads
Faith in Place
Familyfarmed

Fresh Moves
Growing Power  
Growing Solutions Farm           

Local First Chicago
Mercy Housing
Nature's Farm Camp
Neighborspace
Peterson Garden Project
Purple Asparagus
Safer Pest Control
Seven Generations Ahead
Slow Food Chicago
The Land Connection
The Plant
The Resource Center
The Talking Farm
Streetwise
Working Bikes


School Fundraisers

Let us raise money for your school with fruits and veggies! We partner with schools throughout the region to bring healthy food to families while donating funds back to the school.

Our School fundraiser donates 10% of every order of fruits, vegetables, Fresh Picks boxes, meats, dairy, eggs and grocery items all year round. Families can order whatever they like, with our School Box specially designed for a mix of staple produce items--lettuce, potatoes, apples & bananas--and several seasonal items that rotate each week.

Here’s how it works:

     > We work with a champion(s) at your school to get everyone excited about receiving fresh local and organic groceries delivered to their homes.
     > Folks that participate will sign up for an account with a school code we provide you
     > Orders are delivered in insulated bins to keep the food really fresh until families get home
     > We tally the donations of 10% per order and send your school a check each month

So contact us today at 847-410-0595 or answers@freshpicks.com to get your school signed up. It’s such an easy way to have a healthy school fundraiser to benefit you and your school!