From Nebraska and Maryland respectively, both Jerry and Renee Cornett served time for the US Navy prior to starting Lakehouse Farm, a certified organic farm in Waverly, Nebraska. Jerry served for 21 years, retiring in 2011 with the rank of commander, and Renee served 11 years as a naval aviator before pursuing culinary school at Metropolitan Community College. Their life in the Navy took them all over the world, including time spent in northern Italy. It was there that the concept of a farm-to-table restaurant formulated. After starting their farm in 2011, Jerry and Renee began renovations for Prairie Plate restaurant, which opened in 2014.
On their farm, Jerry and Renee practice sustainable farming by using drip irrigation, covered crops, contour farming, crop rotation, and a transplant system where plants begin in their greenhouse before being transplanted to the ground. Additionally, they also compost the kitchen scraps from the restaurant to mix into their soil.
For their restaurant, Prairie Plate, over 85% of the vegetables on the menu come from Lakehouse Farm. Their seasonal menu changes from week to week, depending on what is growing at that moment. Lakehouse Farm grows sixty to seventy different varieties of vegetables and fruit. The items they don’t have on their farm—primarily meat, dairy, and grains—are purchased from local farmers and suppliers.
Both Jerry and Renee live by their motto, ““From the farm, through the kitchen, to your table.”