Ice cream parlor illustrates farm to table at Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview

GLENVIEW— As a 16-year-old teenager at Glenbrook South High School, Sarah Schoeneberg’s first summer job was selling Homer’s Ice Cream at a Glenview cone shop at Waukegan Road and East Lake Avenue.

“That was in 1996, where the Walgreens is now. It was a lot of fun,” Schoeneberg said.

Today she continues selling Homer’s Ice Cream, but at Glenview’s Historic Wagner Farm Heritage Center, where she’s program director.

Since 2007 from May to October, Wagner Farm Sweet Treats, an old fashion soda fountain, has sold many different cold joys to visitors, featuring Homer’s Ice Cream in Wilmette.

Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview has an old fashion ice cream parlor and soda fountain open from May to October. Todd Shields/Sun-Times Media

Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview has an old fashion ice cream parlor and soda fountain open from May to October. Todd Shields/Sun-Times Media

The parlor is next to the science education room and automated cow-milking parlor.

“We wanted to show kids our farm to table concept. We talk all the time here about what foods we get from dairy products, so an ice cream would be fun and educational,” said Schoeneberg.

“It’s been very successful. We’ve seen more and more growth each year.”

Last week’s flavor was rainbow sherbet.

As soon as the door flung open at 11 a.m., the quaint parlor looking out to the farm’s huge community garden was filled with young children and mostly mothers.

Since May the soda fountain has sold 3,012 cones, 266 sundaes, 259 milkshakes and 121 floats, 102 brownies, 68 freeze pops and 39 sodas.

The menu includes five ice cream flavors, toppings, sauces and milkshakes.

When the place got busy before noon, Schoeneberg grabbed a scooper and joined coworkers Maureen Andersen and Taylor Abrams, both of Glenview.

Chicago resident Teresa Sikora grew up on a farm in Poland, raising livestock and growing wheat, oats and sugar beets.

Sikora had brought 2-year-old her grandson, Sebastian, to the parlor and later toured the 19-acre farm, a public education center owned by Glenview Park District.

“I don’t get a chance anymore to be on a farm, so I love it here. We moved to Chicago in 1991,” she said.

“My son loves it here, too. I’m from South America, and I don’t think is has ice cream parlors,” said Liz Serrano, of Evanston.

“I’ve never been to one there.”

In 1935, restaurant owner Gus Poulos made his first batch of Homer’s Ice Cream for a two-table parlor.

Homer’s Wilmette Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor, 1237 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, is the original location.

His sons, Steve and Dean, who grew up in Wilmette, carry on the family business.

Homer’s received a “Best In Chicago” recognition by Chicago Magazine, and the American Tasting Institute named it “Finest in the Nation.”

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