It’s one thing to meet farmers at farmer’s markets or even farm dinners. That’s an experience that’s been tailored to make it easy for us city slickers to ease into an understanding of farm life. But if you want to just dive head first into the culture, we have an alternative suggestion: this week’s Lake County Fair in suburban (barely) Grayslake. Here, barely an hour from the distingué fleshpots of Chicago, is the real midwest, carnival rides and deep fried foods on sticks and 4-H kids displaying the giant squashes they’ve grown and auctioning off the animals they’ve raised and monster truck rallies and the whole panoply of rural life. Having attended and more for several years, we can say that you will have a good old-fashioned time, but you might also be especially impressed by the next generation of farmers, as you watch 12-year-old girls lead massive cows around as if they were poodles and teenaged boys speak thoughtfully about the animals they’ve raised. Information and directions (you can even get there by Metra) are here; it’s Thursday and Friday nights and all weekend.