By Paul Mishkin

A Vision Years in the Making

My 40 years of trading options in the financial securities industry has afforded me many opportunities to invest in the future—to better the lives of those in my community and beyond. Southall, in many ways, is the greatest expression of those opportunities.

This place had much more humble beginnings, though. It started with the vision of my wife, Laura, who wanted to own land, grow food to eat, and donate the rest to those in need. But having no experience or expertise in farming or land management, we knew we had to build a team of experts to execute the vision; in fact, we needed help to create the full vision in the first place!

My own history has taught me that if you find the right people and create the right relationships, amazing things can happen. So we hired experts across many disciplines: land management, real estate development, farming, hospitality, culinary, spa, landscape design, architecture, interior design, and construction (to name a few). We asked them to dream big, to find ways we could create something new and special. And I believe they’ve not only achieved that vision, but exceeded what we thought was even possible.

Southall may have started with our desire to have a farm, but it could not have happened without significant contributions from many other passionate individuals—among them our son David and the executive team, who together serve as our eyes and ears here as I manage my business in Chicago. They are all experts in their fields, and this is a place where they can be their most brilliant selves. When Southall opens, we will be guests here as much as anyone! We’ve left the details of this passion project to our talented team, and we are as eager to experience what they’ve created as we are to share it with everyone who walks through our doors.

But enough about us—and onto Southall itself. Why is it called Southall, anyway? It’s simple enough, really: The area where we built was historically known as Southall, and there is a historical marker with the name right outside the property. The idea of the farm is to work with nature, to work with what’s already there. Why not continue that mindset with the name?

Eight years and 325 acres later, The Farm at Southall is pursuing a sustainable facility while farming with best practices. Wells have been dug for geothermal heating and cooling. Heritage seeds have been planted. There is an orchard with 40+ varietals of apple trees and two traditional greenhouses. And all of that is in addition to a hydroponic greenhouse, a farm stand, grazing areas, kitchen gardens, 5+ miles of trails, row crops, flower gardens, and apiaries (4 million bees producing 1,000 pounds of award-winning honey a year).

A particular point of pride is that rainwater is collected from roofs and gutters, along with land terracing, to direct that water into our man-made lake for irrigation. I’m passionate about water conservation, and I insisted from early on that Southall remain self-sufficient for its irrigation, disconnected from the municipal water supply whenever possible. I’m very happy to say that Southall has achieved that goal, watering the crops and landscape through this natural cycle and turning to town water only when absolutely necessary.

Southall is combining state-of-the-art farming techniques with farming philosophies from over a century ago, growing a wide range of heirloom varietals chosen by the chefs and farmers for the taste and feel on the palate. Our produce is grown in a way that nourishes the earth, in order to continue to provide the best food we can for many years to come. We also partner with the local farming community to offer guests beef, pork, poultry, and dairy.

There is a lot of programming in the works for guests to enjoy as well, including a ropes obstacle course in the trees with zip lines, mountain biking trails, archery, canoeing, falconry, fishing, and whatever else we may dream up.

Even our spa has a unique Southall twist: The Spa at Southall features many natural ingredients that are found right on the property. It truly is something special, a luxurious, high-end experience that allows us to care for our guests as well as we care for the land around them.

Southall is a resort, of course, but it’s still a farm at its core. It’s a place we envisioned as somewhere people could come and stay to share the farm and all it has to offer—to fully enjoy a deep dive into a culinary seed-to-table experience. You’ll find a 62-room inn along with 16 cottages, the farm and trails surrounding you with beauty. You might discover pop-up events pretty much anywhere on the property. This is an experiment in immersive hospitality and a giant picnic at the same time, something as unique as it is delightful.

Here, anyone can be a part of what we grow, how we care for it, and how we serve it up. Eat the food. Listen to the music. Walk the trails. Take a spa day! At Southall, you’ll feel nurtured by nature, no matter what you do. That’s the point of this dream, which has now become a reality. We cannot wait to welcome you here!