We know our farmers…and their kids

Fifth Season Cooperative supports many small family farms, two distributors and eight regional processors in the Midwest through local food brokerage – thereby creating a place for everyone in the local food marketplace. The majority of Fifth Season buyers are food service businesses comprised of institutions such as hospitals, schools and elder care, restaurants, and grocery chain deli/bakery departments.

Our multi-stakeholder organization, a unique structure in the United States, includes six member classes that span the entire food supply chain at the local level:

Growers in the region who sell produce, meat, or dairy

Producer Groups
Agricultural businesses in the region that aggregate and sell produce, meat, or dairy

Businesses from the region that make value-added products

Businesses from the region that transport agricultural products

Institutions and retail operations in the region that purchase product from the Co-op

Employees who contribute to the Co-op’s success through their labor





Austin’s Rush Creek Farm

Austin’s Rush Creek Farm is owned and operated by Brian and Carolyn Austin. They both grew up on farms, Brian on a hog and beef farm in northern Illinois and Carolyn on a dairy farm near Rising Sun, Wisconsin. They both left the farm earlier in their lives and joined the rat race of the manufacturing world, living near Rockford, Illinois.  All the while, their love of the farm life was calling.  In 1997, Brian and Carolyn purchased the farm that has been in Carolyn’s family since 1853, and embarked on a long-term plan to raise their children and move to the farm. In 2009, they quit their hectic jobs and moved to their farm.  “We now live the life of our dreams,” Brian says. The couple is the 6th generation to own and work this beautiful soil. “We are fortunate to be located in the heart of the Driftless Region, and we are dedicated to sustaining the natural beauty and richness of our land, continuing the loving care it has received for over 150 years.” At Austin’s Rush Creek Farm, says Carolyn, “we grow produce using natural methods. We offer a variety of vegetables and berries. We do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. We enrich our soil with natural organic matter. Our focus is on providing quality produce to local customers. We believe that a strong local economy is key to a healthy, fulfilling life.”