Family Business on June 7th, 2014
This Old Farm began as a single farm operation supporting some of the needs of one farm family. Today it supports over 20 individuals and their families as well as many alliance farm families. I once asked how the farm could be self sustaining, but I am blessed to now see that one operation grow to not only be self sustaining but also supporting multiple families.
On Friday, I had three employees say thank you for their jobs. Not often do you hear those words as an employer. But boy were they needed after a very long and hard week. The folks that work alongside me to provide you with Good Food, work hard. Their jobs are physically and mentally taxing. The respect I have for them is great. Each one is needed. To see a family business grow to a community business is an outreach of the care and passion we have for Good Food, nutrition, and love of the family farms that we support.
Return the thanks that my employees were willing to pass along after a hard week with a prayer for all those in America that work diligently to provide food for our table. Thank you to all of you for supporting Good Food Access and growth of the Family Farms raising our meat and vegetables here at This Old Farm.
Sunrise on the Farm. on June 7th, 2014
As the sun rises, the produce fields welcome you to harvest. Produce is often picked before the sun rises or just at day break. That is when we get the freshest, crispest product before the sun takes a toll and moisture is lost. The crew on the turnip harvest day a few weeks ago shown above consisted of 5 men, 4 children, and myself. I took the kids as a crew and Joe took his adult male crew. Together we pulled baby white turnips up out of the sand as fast as possible. They were moved to a refrigerated truck to protect their pale white covering and delicate leaves. At the front of the farm they were taken to be washed, hydrocooled, and boxed prior to an even larger truck arriving on the farm to move them into cold storage.
Over a decade ago, land was purchased in order to grow Indiana produce. It took that whole decade to prepare the ground and build the infrastructure to make sizable harvests a reality. Operating capitol, equipment, and pack lines take time to gain. But it is the growth in fertility and relationships that are most delicate and important to a good crop. While This Old Farm has marketed for a number of other produce farms, 2014 marks the first sizable produce planting of our own. The sheep have been cordoned off to a rotating pasture up front. Hay is being harvest on the middle field. And the back is now brimming with green rows as far as the eyes can reach. That first turnip harvest a few weeks ago was just a primer for the 90,000 heads of green romaine that will be harvested in the next few weeks.
When the kids asked for a garden this year I chuckled knowing they were going to have more “garden” opportunities than ever before. While they don’t hit the fields daily, they haven’t complained on the days they are requested. In fact they loved harvest day. It does a body good to get up early and feel the dirt before sunrise. Now that the cows are off the farm, the produce calls longingly for not only the hand that will harvest it, but the families that will enjoy it. Ask your grocer today to carry Midwestern lettuce harvested by This Old Farm’s dedicated hands, both big and small Romaine straight from the field. Nice solid heads grown organically right here in Indiana. Bok Choy and Kale also available for purchase this week for your wholesale needs!
To the Mother’s, Thank You. on May 10th, 2014
What better way to say thank you to Mom than chocolate? Our locally made chocolates, truffles, and coffee are all 20% off as our way of attempting to thank the mothers for all that they do, have done, or will do.
But is anybody really capable of thanking mothers? In the words of C.S. Lewis “The Homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only, and that is to support the ultimate career”. Too often we get caught up in other things of life, being proud of corporate and academic success, forgetting that there is no other job more important than raising the next generation, and that is the job that more often than not defaults to mothers. That is not to say corporate success and academic success are not something to be proud of, but a special recognition of mothers and all that they do is often lost. Mothers are so common, everybody has one, everybody knows several, and so we forget how truly special they are. We are indebted to our mothers with more than we will ever be able to give back, and they are all perfectly happy to live as such.
Everyday is mother’s day. Every day there is a new mother somewhere in the world. Everyday there is a mother cleaning up some child’s mess. Every day there is a mother who is at her wits end (to which I sincerely apologize on behalf of all children), and everyday there is a mother filled with love and pride for her child.
And so I would like to thank all mothers everywhere, for everything they do for us. Those who raise this generations children determine how the future will be, and that is the job of a mother. Have a wonderful mother’s day.
Local Produce and Food Security on May 3rd, 2014
Warm weather and sun are here and produce is sprouting all over Indiana, including our first commercial sized lettuce crop! Orders are coming in from our larger wholesale customers, and product will soon be available to our retail customers as well! Our distribution network and alliance of farmers have come a long way sine they first began, and it’s wonderful to start being able to maximize efficiencies on both sides and see how much volume small farms can really produce, and the demand they can meet when they pool their product together. Even though we pool product in order to meet large orders, we still take the time to ensure 100% traceability and give credit to the farmer by listing the farmers name on every one of our labels.
Seeing the volume we can move through a relatively small operation never ceases to amaze me. Indiana is a great agricultural state, with the ability to grow many varieties of food. We’re the 14th largest agricultural state in the country, and yet we still import roughly 95% of our food from out of state. We are capable of feeding ourselves, why don’t we?
Food security is a serious issue in the U.S., though very few people are aware of it. Yet, we hear the symptoms of this crisis all the time. The big peanut butter withdraw just a few years ago is a prime example. Peanut butter across the country was recalled because contaminants were found in one processing facility. California and Texas are both experiencing drought, and the vast majority of the countries lettuce (among many other crops) are located in these two states. What happens if these crops fail due to the drought?
Diversified local agriculture is the best way to ensure food security, and that is exactly what we support at This Old Farm. We believe that the most secure food system is a food system that can support itself on the local level. By supporting several local operations rather than a few national operations, you can ensure that a failure in one location will not impose a threat on any majority. Indiana and the mid-west can be self sustaining, Indiana and the mid-west can feed itself, and we’re pushing to see that happen.
Griling Time! on April 26th, 2014
We hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Now that the weather is getting warmer, we can now enjoy our meals outside! In other words, grilling season is quickly approaching! To help compliment your grill, all Italian Sausage (both mild and hot) and Pork Chops are 20% off! While you’re picking up your brats and pork chops, check out our barbeque sauces. Local Folks Foods provides us with both a mild Apple Butter BBQ and a spicier Hab-A-Q. Both make wonderful complements to a grilled pork chop!