Annie Novak is a farmer with a rake, a hoe -- and a staircase. The Evanston-grown Novak's calling is urban agriculture, a la Brooklyn's Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, a pioneering 6,000-square-foot spread atop a warehouse. There, stalks of corn rise shoulder-high alongside 30 other crops, from arugula to watermelon -- all against a killer skyline view.
Novak's favorite things:
Tomato to die for? "Black-cherry-tomatoes from rareseeds.com are a great snack during a long day pruning."
Reading: "Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man" by Mark Kurlansky. "He's a great writer: informative, entertaining, a true storyteller."
Style: "The elegance and sense of fun at Dolce & Gabbana right now is my favorite. I would wear [it] while farming barefoot, and feel as glamorous as Sophia Lauren."
Furniture for my house: The pine trestle table by Bien Hecho. "Nothing is better for a farmer than a good place to enjoy a good meal. The bigger the table the better!"
Cut flowers: "I'm obsessed with the hearty, short-blooming, Degas ballerina-evoking blossoms of peonies. What a luxurious, fun flower."
Seed catalogs: Hudson Valley Seed Library and Johnny's Selected Seeds
Secret fertilizer: Rabbit poop mixed with coffee chaff from Cafe Grumpy in Brooklyn
Spice: Chili peppers
Dessert: "I'm obsessed with peanut butter cookies from Ovenly. They are coming out with a cookbook soon, so folks in Chicago can experience their treats!"