Rural Living & Local Food
Greg Gunthorp At the top of his game
Foods Alive // McClureâ€™s Orchard // Indiana State Fair
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A monthly publication of AIM Media Indiana, Farm Indiana offers the local news and views of Indiana’s farming world, including features about local families and their farms, agriculture businesses, equipment and technological advances, educational outreach programs and more. Farm Indiana promotes and celebrates Indiana’s rich history and tradition in farming; serves as a conduit of information among growers, producers, farmers, retailers, farming organizations and local food consumers; educates readers about the nutritional, social and financial importance of local food support and consumption; and highlights Indiana local foods and agritourism.
PUBLISHER Chuck Wells EDITOR Sherri Lynn Dugger CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Liz Brownlee, Katherine Coplen, Katie Glick, David Hoppe, Cheryl Carter Jones, Jim Mayfield, Christina M. McDougall, Jon Shoulders, Rebecca Townsend, Twinkle VanWinkle, Catherine Whittier, CJ Woodring COPY EDITOR Katharine Smith SENIOR GRAPHIC ARTIST Margo Wininger Advertising art director Amanda Waltz ADVERTISING DESIGN
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Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Comments, story ideas, events and suggestions should be sent to Sherri Lynn Dugger, The Republic, 333 Second St., Columbus, IN 47201, call (812) 379-5608 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To advertise, contact Mike Rossetti at (812) 379-5764 or email@example.com. To subscribe to Farm Indiana, call (800) 435-5601. 12 issues (1 year) will be delivered to your home for $50. Back issues may also be purchased for $5 per issue.
Contents August 2016
5 Field Notes
32 From the Field
6 McClure’s Orchard 10 Flying Pig Farm 14 Greg Gunthorp 18 A Historical Homestead 22 Bicentennial Barns 26 Foods Alive 28 Organic Feed 30 Indiana State Fair
37 Continuing Education 38 Local Food
Columns by growers
Tips and advice
C3, sourdough starter
Rural Living & Local Food
ON THE COVER
Greg Gunthorp At the top of his game
Photo by Josh Marshall
Foods Alive // McClure’s Orchard // Indiana State Fair
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Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Challenge Accepted My sister-in-law set me up for a challenge on Facebook recently. I was to post a picture of my husband and me for seven sequential days — a “Love Your Spouse” challenge, I believe it was called. This task was easy enough. I, indeed, do love my spouse and have made him suffer through any number of selfies over the years. One of the photos I posted was taken from our honeymoon in Antigua. It captured what was quite possibly one of the last times we spent together when we had absolutely nothing to do. After returning from Antigua, we got down to the business of buying a house in the country. And when you buy a farmhouse and start a small farm from scratch, there’s no end to the list of things to tackle. That said, when we rang in 2016, I wasn’t exactly sure what would land on the task list this year. We had spent a couple of years restoring the house, and when it was time to turn to the land, we had ideas, but nothing was concrete. Enter the Indiana Small Farm Conference. This annual event takes place in Hendricks County, and my husband and I have attended each year. This March, I decided to sit in on a class at the conference about grants. By early May, I was turning in a nearly 50-page grant application, an experience that I detailed in the June issue of Farm Indiana. We’ve now passed the first review phase for that application and should hear something final in September. This application also got the ball rolling on a number of other projects. While working on that application, I asked my husband if we could turn our garage into a local food farm store. This sounded like a simple-enough idea.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
It’s July now as I write this, and this coming weekend we will celebrate the grand opening of the store, which offers locally grown and made products from nearly 40 Indiana farms. Working on that garage was a huge undertaking. The structure needed a complete overhaul, which my husband handled like a champion, and starting a business involved dozens of details I had no idea were in store. There were tax numbers to be acquired, retail certificates to file, websites to build and more. The learning curve was steep. The construction task list for my husband was steep, too. These days, there are no longer selfies of Randy and me relaxing on the beach. I can’t recall a time we’ve taken photos of ourselves without chores looming. Living in the country and starting a farm take a lot out of you. There are days when you wonder why you care so much and days when you lose the desire to try. But still, we keep plugging along. A new day arrives and with it a new reason to keep going. Building out our farm feels akin to what I’ve sometimes felt editing Farm Indiana. There are changes coming involving my responsibilities here that I will write about in the next issue. These are exciting changes for me, and they open up the list of possibilities for what we can do with this publication. There’s a lot of work to do, sure. There’s a to-do list, as the saying goes, that’s a mile long. But nothing in this world matters, I’ve found, that isn’t worth a little extra effort.
By Catherine Whittier
Do you ever smell or squeeze a peach at the farmers market to see if it’s ripe? Joe and Debbie Harker of Harker Family Farms and Orchard say there’s a better way to find the perfect peach. There are approximately 1,200 fruit trees in the Harkers’ orchard, and more than half of them are peach trees. The Harkers explain that if a peach smells really good, it won’t last much more than a day, and it may be overripe. “A lot of people do smell the peaches, and sometimes they have more aroma than others. Often the strong aroma is coming from the ‘culls’ though — the ones that are bruised or have damage on them,” says Debbie. The way to tell if a peach is ripe is to look at the area where the stem attaches to the peach. If the flesh is white/yellow, the peach is ripe. If it’s green, it’s not ready, explains Joe. The Harker family also has raised sweet corn on their farm since 1976, and they explain that it’s not necessary to shuck an ear of corn to find out if it’s good. When evaluating an ear of corn still in the husk, look for the tightness of the ear and for fullness at the silk end. “Leaving the husk intact helps keep the corn fresh and leaves the potential for grilling or microwaving in the husk,” explain the Harkers. Learning to feel for a good husk of corn takes practice, but once learned, will not easily be forgotten.
The Harker Family Farms and Orchard is located at 7589 E. State Road 244 in Waldron, and the farm stand is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the season. The Harkers can be found at the Carmel Farmers Market on Saturdays, The Market at Hague (formerly Binford Farmers Market) on Saturdays, as well as others. Check for weekly locations on harkerfamilyfarms.com.
ALL ABOUT KRAUT » Looking for a new way to enjoy the abundance of fresh vegetables coming out of the garden? Kathy and Mike Shrum of Metta Gardens in Indianapolis have shared their recipe, as well as some important tips about how to make raw, fermented sauerkraut. Just about any vegetable can be fermented, they say, and you can use your imagination when adding ingredients. The Shrums now have five varieties of kraut and four flavors of kimchi. For making their basic sauerkraut, they start by shredding five pounds of organic cabbage, which naturally contains the good bacteria for healthy fermenting. “We typically make fivepound batches, which yield approximately two-and-a-half quarts of finished kraut,” Mike says. “We cut the cabbage into quarters, then remove the cores and weigh what we will use. We are looking for 80 ounces of usable cabbage.” A starter culture (lactobacilli in powder form, available online) is added to 8 ounces of water and then left to sit for eight to 10 minutes. Then the Shrums add two grams of this culture to the batch to kick-start the process and get things moving a little more quickly. Fermentation takes up to three times longer without it. They also add four tablespoons of Kosher salt. While the starter culture is sitting, the Shrums smash, press and squeeze the shredded cabbage by hand in large salad bowls. This will cause the cabbage to begin to break down and will create a brine. Next, combine the activated culture with the cabbage and brine and mix thoroughly.
“The brine is very important and the cabbage should always be submerged,” explains Mike. After mixing, pack the cabbage tightly into one-quart mason jars, pressing it to remove any air bubbles. Be sure to leave approximately one inch of space at the top of each jar for expansion. “Air space (void) must be left in the sealed jar for the kraut and brine to expand,” Mike says. “Otherwise, you’ll for sure get a ‘kraut bath’ upon opening and probably lose a lot of product as well. The kraut can also break the seal to the jar, creating a mess on your countertop.” Cover the shredded cabbage with a large cabbage leaf “hat” and screw on the jar lid. “We keep a couple of the outer leaves and tear them into pieces slightly larger than the top of the jar,” Mike explains. “This keeps pieces from floating to the top and possibly being exposed to air.” Allow the jars to sit at room temperature for 10 days. During the first three days, the pressure will begin to build, and the jar lids need to be loosened to let the gas (and usually some brine) escape. Also, after three days of sitting at room temperature, the pH level (acidity) usually drops below 4.6, which is the critical level for any bad bacteria to no longer survive. The pH level must drop below 4.6 for safe consumption. The Shrums use a pH tester to check the levels before heading to market. After 10 days, put the jars in the refrigerator, where they can remain for many months. Mike and Kathy Shrum of Metta Gardens can be found at the Greenwood Farmers Market each week. For more information, visit facebook.com/MettaGardens.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
McClure’s Orchard Address:
5054 N. U.S. 31, Peru Produce available:
Apples, pumpkins, peaches, cherries, pears, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, as well as a few seasonal vegetables. Additional products sold:
Baked goods, including pies and dumplings, honey, sweet cider and a large selection of apple wines and hard ciders produced and bottled in-house. On-site attractions: The Apple Dumplin’ Inn restaurant and wine sampling bar; a petting zoo with horses, goats, bunnies, miniature horses and cats; horse and tractor rides; the Apple Barn store featuring produce, home décor products, wines and ciders. Information:
(765) 985-9000, mccluresorchard.com.
Jerry McClure, Jason McClure, Alison McClure (Jason’s wife), Ryan Kraner, Jenny Kraner (Ryan’s wife). Inset, apples.
Rare Pickings McClure’s Orchard closes in on 20 years of hard-earned success
By Jon Shoulders//Photography by josh marshall
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Hard cider. Below, blackberries
A Fermenting tanks
As Jason McClure strolls up and down the rows of 5,000-plus fruit trees that sprawl across the 80 acres of land in Peru owned by his family, the knowing smile that never quite leaves his face makes it fairly clear that the place holds an abundance of joy and memories for him. After a few minutes of ambling through the carefully tended rows of McClure’s Orchard, it almost seems as if he knows the background of each fruit tree on the property. When asked about the nearest apple tree he happens to be passing, he responds immediately, almost without having to look in its direction at all. “That’s an Arkansas Black; it’s an heirloom apple that dates back to about the 1850s in Arkansas,” Mc-
Clure says. “It looks like a plum and it’s very hard and dense, but it tastes like cider and has a wonderful flavor about it. We use it for cider.” Comparatively trivial comments perhaps, but they signify the kind of knowledge, expertise and familiarity with the land McClure has garnered in his chosen trade and just how far he and his family have come since purchasing the orchard 18 years ago. In 1998, McClure’s parents, Jerry and Paige, learned that the Peru orchard was for sale and began pondering the pos-
sibilities of, as McClure puts it, “getting back to the land. Dad was traveling a lot for his job, and Mom was a florist at the time,” he says. “I would say there are very few people who have never experienced that thought of living off the land. That was certainly an impetus for coming here.” Jerry and Paige, as well as Jason and his siblings, Megan and Jon, were living in Westfield at the time, and before long the family found themselves heading north toward unfamiliar but ultimately inspiring surroundings. Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Ryan Kraner at the bar.
According to McClure, the first three years of orchard ownership were perhaps the toughest and quickly taught the family some crucial lessons on planting, preparing, pruning and picking from fruit trees. He can still recall their first thorough inspection of the property, where he says the land was platted around 1900 and the first trees were planted during World War I. “We couldn’t even see between some of the rows of trees when we first got the place because they were so overgrown with poison ivy and briars and things,” he recalls. “We would get packs of 15 to 20 deer coming through here.” The total number of apples the family was able to gather during that first forage through the farmland? Two. Since then, the McClures have drastically increased not only the sheer number of apples per harvest season, but also the number of apple varieties typically grown on the land, from around 20 when they purchased the orchard to about 120 currently. Several additional types of fruit trees, including peach, pear and cherry trees, are also carefully maintained, along with a 10-acre pumpkin patch. All produce is sold on an almost exclusively retail basis, and McClure says each family member’s duties can range from mowing the grass — a 13-hour endeavor in itself, he says — to repairing broken apple crates to cleaning the large cooler in which the majority of each day’s harvest is amassed, or tending the Apple Barn store where produce and home décor items are sold daily. “One of the things that makes an orchard different is that there’s no down time,” says McClure, a Wabash College graduate who studied history and education. “It’s kind of like a dairy farm where there are always chores. November through around February is pruning time, March is starting the orchard work again and getting the new trees ready to go, and then up through October is harvest time. We do 80 percent of our business in September and October, so we have to be ready. In the fall we’ll step up to 8
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Bee hives maintained on the orchard grounds. Above, a selection of hard ciders.
about 100-hour work weeks because we’re doing apples during the week and on the weekends we’re doing you-pick apples and you-pick pumpkins.” In 2009, the family decided to experiment with producing in-house wine and hard cider, and one year later McClure’s Orchard became the first farm-to-bottle cidery in the state. More than 30 varieties of wines and ciders are now produced and bottled at the orchard and can currently be found in several restaurants in central Indiana, such as Twenty Tap and The Sinking Ship in Indianapolis. Guests can visit the tasting bar at the orchard’s on-site restaurant, the Apple Dumplin’ Inn, for daily wine and hard cider samplings, and McClure’s is now featured as part of the Wineries of Indiana’s Northeast tour. Brett Wiscons, a Zionsville-based musician and booking agent who has
performed in the Apple Dumplin’ Inn and outside near the orchard throughout several fall seasons, says the unique variety of products and on-site features add to the orchard’s attraction for all ages. “Good, honest people run the operation, and they treat all of their guests with respect and make the experience fun,” Wiscons says. “The vast array of sweet treats for purchase never hurts, either.” Last August at the Indiana State Fair, which was themed the Year of the Farmer and at which a different farm was honored on each of its 17 days, the McClures, as one of the farm owners featured, were given exclusive tours, a spot in a fair parade and a chance to preside over a question-and-answer session. “Everyone who comes to the farm can feel the welcoming family atmosphere as opposed to a commercial operation that is
just money-driven,” says Ryan Kraner, an Indianapolis resident who works regularly at the tasting bar and in the orchard. “Jason’s grandfather lives about 10 miles from us, and we have become friends with them and can never leave their house without being forced to take fresh eggs or produce every time. That generosity is a family trait that has been passed down for generations. Not only have they created a destination for families to visit, but they have created an exceptional product as well.” McClure, 34, lives on land adjacent to the orchard with his wife, Alison, whom he met in West Africa while they both were serving a two-year stint with the Peace Corps, and their 2-year-old daughter, Nila. With the family in close proximity — Jerry, Paige and Jon live on the orchard property itself and Megan resides just a few miles away — evening
McClure’s Orchard restaurant. Below left, kegs of hard cider. Below right, jarred applesauce for sale in the gift shop.
get-togethers at the end of long workdays are not difficult to orchestrate. McClure says working so closely with family every day inevitably results in occasional arguments, but that the benefits outweigh the rare moments of friction. “It’s a lifestyle that you have to love because you’re working more hours than a lot of people, but there’s the family aspect and the little things like getting to enjoy the sunrise and sunset on a pretty regular basis,” McClure says. “I have a really good friend who lives up in the city in Detroit, and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ll be taking my short walk home at the end of the day with a fresh pint in my hand, and I’ll laugh and send him a picture message saying, ‘This is my commute home — how’s your drive?’ He gets so mad.” No more than 20 people, including seasonal orchard workers, store and
restaurant employees and the McClures themselves, work on the orchard at any given time, and the family wouldn’t have it any other way. McClure credits both his family’s willingness to throw themselves wholeheartedly into their livelihood from Day 1, as well as the support of the farm community in Miami County, for much of what he and his loved ones have accomplished throughout nearly 20 years. “With corn or beans, it’s year to year where you plant and you’re going to get your return,” he says. “With trees, you’re talking five to seven years and then there’s your return. I think that’s why the community of growers is so helpful and supportive of one another, because of those shared challenges. Miami County has four orchards, and while there’s competition, we’re also all kind of in this together. We look out for one another.”
4329 North Highway 31, Seymour, IN 47274 812-522-5199 Monday thru Friday 8am to 5pm Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Flying Pig Farm.
WHEN PIGS FLY
The Keaton family believes in the impossible By Rebecca Townsend â€¢ Photography by Josh Marshall
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
loomington’s Flying Pig Farm could also be called the Rolling Roost. Its caretakers rent chicken coops as starter kits for people interested in increasing their connections to their food and the land. “Laying hens are a gateway to farming: you get the bug for it,” says Nicci Keaton, who owns and operates the Flying Pig with her husband, Will. The Keatons do not come from farming backgrounds, but driven by a voracious appetite to provide healthy food for their family, they worked together to learn how to handle their own rotationally grazed chickens, beginning operations in 2002. Soon, they were giving away eggs and receiving encouragement. From there, “it snowballed,” Nicci says. People loved Flying Pig eggs. Then they loved the chicken. (The farm’s birds are raised on pasture and supplemented with non-GMO feed from Liberty Feed and Bean Meal.) Next the Keatons added turkey, and they are now in their second year of raising pork. Growing interest in their food has led them to begin looking for more land because current demand is pressing them to the limitations of their five-acre homestead in southern Monroe County. The Flying Pig farm-share, a community-supported agriculture program, supplies a core group of clients with regular delivery of eggs and/or chicken, plus any additional in-season items the farm may have available — pork and turkey, for example. The operation is growing slowly and organically, in part thanks to word-ofmouth praise by customers like Stephanie Krull. “Their meat is delicious; their practices are environmentally conscious and transparent. They not only care for their animals, but they also care about them,” Krull says of the Keatons. “They are devoted to their customers (they
Will and Nicci Keaton and their children (from left) Rhett, 3, Jacob, 22 months, Will, 5, and Josephine, 3 weeks.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
A rolling chicken coop built by Will.
personally deliver to your door), and they are all-around good people.” Nicci, a career nurse, says her encounters with seriously ill patients fueled her passion for supplying healthy, quality food to her community. She hopes that the business one day will grow to be her sole, full-time profession. For now, though, she is happy that the farm’s growth has been manageable.“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Nicci says. “I love nursing, but this is my passion. This is what I really like to do.” Taking a test drive The Flying Pig backyard chicken coop starter kit includes delivery, setup and two laying hens in a “small, attractive, movable coop” with a feeder, water dispenser and bedding for the nest boxes, as well as the same feed used at the farm. In addition to an in-person tutorial she provides during bird delivery, Nicci stands by to help her clients through phone and email support throughout the rental period. A four-week rental costs $140; 12 weeks is $350. Flying Pig allows customers to extend their rental periods indefinitely or outright adopt their chickens. “We love our hens and love to see people raising more food, too,” Nicci says. “Laying hens are my way of helping 12
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
people get back to farming a little bit, even in the city.” The Flying Pig offers free egg delivery in Bloomington and, for a $5 fee, provides farm-share dropoffs to Indy clients once every two weeks. “People will text me a picture of dinner and tell me how good it was,” Nicci says. “I love that. … It’s nice to see people are enjoying the food you worked so hard for.” Even though quality food sometimes carries a premium price, the Keatons are striving for accessibility and affordability. Flying Pig eggs are about $4 a dozen, and a whole, frozen chicken sells for $4.50 a pound. “Neither one of us have any ties to farming life,” she says. “It’s all been a learned experience.” “After successfully starting with six to 10 laying hens, Nicci told me that she wanted to start raising broilers and that she wanted to do 300 during the summer,” Will recalls. “I almost choked on my dinner when she told me this. ... She had to convince me that we could do this farm thing.” Now, he says, “I love what we have gotten established and cannot wait for it to grow.” With no preconceived notions about farming, Nicci says she was open to dif-
ferent ways of thinking as she and Will devised strategies for how to grow food that was healthy for the animals and the land. The Keatons found inspiration through hospitable and encouraging conversations with vendors at local farmers markets. Nicci, who is the driving force behind the farm operation, did a lot of reading as she began experimenting. Will, skilled in construction, builds everything his wife needs to keep the farm running. “He is what balances me and keeps me motivated,” Nicci says. “It’s fun to work together.” Though the farm has experienced steady growth, there have been some hard lessons along the way, particularly with respect to the specific temperature range that must be maintained to keep baby chicks alive and the many different strategies poultry predators have for infiltrating livestock facilities. At one point, a weasel attack wiped out the Keatons’ entire chicken flock. “I didn’t know a weasel could squeeze through a hole the size of a hot dog,” she says.
The farm’s dogs — Roxy, a 12-yearold Irish wolfhound mix, and Maggie, a 5-year-old mutt — are now helping to keep predators at bay. As the Keatons have grown their operations, they’ve developed an affinity for heritage breed animals. The pig herd includes Large Blacks and Berkshires. Nicci estimates they have about a dozen different breeds of chickens, including Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons and Easter Eggers. The birds’ eggs range from brown and white to cream, blue and green. Family effort Growing up, Nicci recalls, she never held a chicken and she didn’t know where eggs came from. She loves to see how comfortable her children are around their animals. In addition to their newborn, Josephine, the Keatons have three boys: Will, 5, Rhett, 3, and Jacob, 2. The kids who are old enough have feeding and watering chores. They also help hose down the pigs to keep the animals cool in the summer. “That’s what we want for our kids,” she says. “We want them to work hard and not take everything they have for granted. I think they’re starting to get it.” “We have been very open and honest with the boys about the butchering of our animals, and each time the day comes for the pigs, or the chickens, or
whatever animal it is, the boys comfort the animal and thank them for their life,” Will says. “It is always a proud moment for me when I see this because I know that our kids understand that an animal was, and will be, sacrificed to feed us. They have learned that we owe that animal a good and happy life as we raise it and to be thankful for what the animal provides to us.” The Keatons’ customers see their families’ farm-to-fork connections strengthening, as well. Farm-share customer Kayla Goodfellow of Indianapolis met the Keatons through Will’s sister. Her family began making individual purchases of pork and other items before committing this year to a full farm-share subscription. Now she receives two frozen roaster chickens and two dozen eggs delivered to her home every other week. “I grew up being around a lot of farms in rural Iowa,” Goodfellow says. With her young children growing up in a city, she was worried that her kids wouldn’t understand food in a meaningful way — how it’s grown and how it’s produced. “It’s neat to me to be able to connect my children a little more with their food.” Though she admits the upfront commitment of a few hundred dollars for a season’s farm share was intimidating initially, ultimately, Goodfellow says, it made sense: “If you give it a little thought — what am I going to be spending on meat and meals? — divide it out. It does make sense financially, especially if you’re seeking out quality meat.”
Bloomington resident Lauren Skelton became acquainted with the Keatons because her husband works with Will. As friends of the family, “we’ve spent a lot of time on their farm,” Skelton says. “It’s beneficial for my kids to get to see animals well cared for and loved — that they’re part of the food chain and the circle of life. My 5-year-old is at a place where he is really curious about how animals live and how they die. He asked, ‘Ms. Nicci, how do you kill a chicken?’” After checking with Skelton, Nicci proceeded to explain, step by step, how she and Will work together to butcher. The name Flying Pig signifies the Keatons’ belief in the impossible. When they first met, most of their food came pre-wrapped in plastic. Now they’ve transcended the pre-packaged, pre-sliced way of eating in favor of fresh, local food that at once nurtures and inspires. As they refine their vision, they aim to encourage as many other people as possible that healthy eating is indeed a tangible possibility. “I see so many sick people,” Nicci says. “I like to help people work on their health, be proactive instead of reactive — eating right and exercising.” Though she confesses a greater passion for food than workouts in her personal life, Nicci admits that fitness comes naturally as she tends to her duties as a farmer, mother, wife and nurse. “Who needs boot camp?” she asks. “I’ve got 50-pound bags of feed to haul.” For more information, visit facebook. com/TheFlyingPigBloomington.
4814 W Old State Road 46, Greensburg, IN 812-663-4020 • 800-241-4020 • www.obermeyeragrigroup.com Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Looking back on your experience in Great Britain, what would you say you learned and how did it affect you?
Building a Brand
A conversation with Greg Gunthorp By David Hoppe | Photography by Josh Marshall
“Rock star.” It’s our era’s shorthand for someone at the top of their game, someone who has broken barriers and found an original way of doing something most other people thought was settled. If there can be such a thing as a rock star farmer, Greg Gunthorp is probably your man. For almost 20 years, Gunthorp has been building a pasture-based livestock brand on his farm outside LaGrange, built around quality, consistency and a mind-bending work ethic. Gunthorp, who took the audacious step of setting up his own, USDA-approved processing facility — the better to control the quality of his products, has become the purveyor of choice for leading chefs from Chicago to Indianapolis, including Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill fame. Gunthorp’s pork and poultry have even found their ways into the Chicago Cubs’ clubhouse; pitcher Jake Arrieta is a documented fan. Gunthorp grew up on his family’s farm, raising pastured pigs, some cattle and a variety of crops: corn, soybeans, alfalfa, wheat. “I always enjoyed farming,” he says. “I think farming’s one of those things that gets in your blood.”
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
After graduating from high school in 1988, Gunthorp spent three months in Great Britain as part of a Future Farmers of America exchange program. He stayed on 11 different family farms and spent a week at the Royal Highland Fair, a massive annual show of all things agricultural in Scotland. His time spent in the UK served as Gunthorp’s introduction to local, sustainable agriculture. He saw vibrant farmers markets and how farmers were able to skip the middleman and sell directly to consumers. He witnessed farming practices that drew a direct link between animal welfare and superior culinary experiences, and how farmers were making a living and supporting families on acreages and with numbers of animals that were practically unheard of in the United States. Gunthorp and his wife, Lei, purchased his parents’ farm in 1994. Since then, he has become an outspoken advocate for small and sustainable farming; he was a member of the 1998 USDA Commission on Small Farms and contributed to its report, “A Time To Act.” He took time recently to share a bag of his turkey jerky and to talk about his work.
»There was much more thought given to whole systems and how that impacted the animal, the environment, the worker and the consumer. I guess it was my introduction to the concept of holistic farming, though I didn’t realize it at the time. Looking back, I see that had I not had that experience I’m not sure I would have been willing to jump off the cliff and say, hey, we’re going to get into processing, and we’re going to sell directly to consumers.
What happened when you returned to the States? »I spent two years at Purdue, getting an associate degree in agricultural economics. Then I started farming with my parents, and one of those black swan events happened in our lives. I was selling live pigs on the commodity market in 1998 for less than my grandpa sold them for in the Great Depression. I sold pigs for pennies per pound. At the same time, pork in the grocery store went from an average retail price of $2.59 a pound to $2.61 a pound. The price to the consumer went up, while the price to the farmer went basically to zero. Now I’m an extremely stubborn person. If I say I’m going to do something, or the world says this can’t be done, then I’m going to figure out how to do it. I told myself I wasn’t going to be the last Gunthorp to raise pigs.
Weren’t you told you would have to grow yourself out of that hole? »In the late ’80s, early ’90s, the only message at Purdue was get big or get out. The hog industry was expanding and consolidating like crazy. Everybody was putting up buildings, going from the typical family farm with 100 sows, raising a little more than 1,500 pigs per year, to operations with 1,200 to 4,000 sows in confinement. You spent a
fortune, millions of dollars to raise pigs, and the commodity pig market has not really been good since then. I would have gone broke if I’d listened to Purdue and put up a bunch of buildings to raise pigs. Not that I want to put a pig in a building anyway. They’re supposed to be outside; it’s where they get to be pigs.
How are you going to feed the world? »If you look at the math, Americans
Greg and Lei Gunthorp and children, from left, Evan, Cassidy and Kara.
consume roughly 80 pounds of chicken, 70 pounds of beef and 60 pounds of pork a year. There’s about 7 billion people on the planet. If we put everybody on a diet like that, we’ll environmentally and economically bankrupt the planet. I don’t know who in their right mind would think that was a good idea. We should follow Michael Pollan’s thought — you don’t generally hear this from a livestock producer — but we produce too much livestock. We should eat plants, not things produced in plants. We should eat less meat, but it should be produced better. And all farmers, from the biggest to the littlest, should get paid better for what they do.
It’s interesting that now you have so many people coming back to the land, or changing how they farm, or the scale. Are these folks getting institutional support? »My daughter just graduated from Purdue University. They have a small farm and sustainable agriculture program there now. If anyone had told me in 1988 that they’d have a program like that, I would have told them they were nuts, and Purdue would have told them they were nuts. So the land grant universities are coming on board. Farm Bureau, especially once you get out of the corn belt, is coming on board. An excellent example: Go to the western portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Farm Bureau was really instrumental in getting a processing plant for fruits and vegetables up there. It’s mostly small farmers
Have we reached a tipping point?
You’ve been an inspiration and mentor for farmers in terms of building a market for your food before these markets were obvious. What do you tell new farmers or farmers who want to change their business model?
»I think we reached a tipping point three to five years ago. Before that, we were the granola-crunching hippie farmers. That’s changed, and as it changes, it’s like a big snowball rolling downhill. People can change its direction a little bit, but step in front of it and you’ll get rolled over.
»With livestock, the two biggest challenges, which are the same today as when we started, are you have to match the number of animals you have with what you are going to market. Then you have to figure out how you’re going to market every single one of the pieces.
producing more product than they can sell through farmers markets during the season. They’re freezing it and selling it through the winter. That project wouldn’t have happened without the Farm Bureau.
You can sell loins or bacon all day long, but you still have to figure out what to do with the hams and shoulders. It doesn’t do you any good to go out and get a market for 35 pigs a week if you only have 20 pigs a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant or a retailer, if you short them they’re not happy. But if you overproduce, you’re going to kill yourself. That’s a fine line. Long term, I think people have to remember what we’re trying to do is develop a brand. And you do that by consistent quality. What we really sell Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
The farm as seen from his parents’ home. Below, 4-day-old chicks.
435 N. Road 850E, LaGrange, gunthorpfarms.com
is the ability of our customers to create an ultimate dining experience. Frontera Grill has been our largest customer over the years, and the products we send to them help them to bring people into their restaurants. That’s something a person really has to keep in mind. You’re not just selling an animal that is based on the price per pound. You’re selling a product that is of the utmost quality at all times.
I can barely imagine the kind of risk you took on when you determined to process your own meat. »We knew we wanted to sell to 3-, 4-, 5-star restaurants, and they are extremely
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
particular about how they want things processed. They want it handled correctly; they want everything as fresh as possible. So it came down to my stubbornness. If you are going to get into selling to white tablecloth restaurants, you either have to have a really good relationship with a processer, or you probably have to own a processing plant. I don’t think there’s another option. I don’t think you can cold call a processer and say, “I want to sell to restaurants and am going to bring you a varied number of beef every week, and I need them cut up the day after, and it’s going to be different every week.” If the processer
was really into that, they would probably be selling to restaurants themselves. When we became part owners of a plant 37 miles from here, I couldn’t manage it. I was either at the farm when I should have been at the processing plant, or at the plant when I should have been selling in Chicago. But I knew I could make it work if we built a plant on the farm. At the time, access to capital was a huge problem. We had to be creative. But we built a processing plant on a shoestring, and we made it work. I get the chance to speak to a lot of classes through Junior Achievement, and I tell people I’m 100 percent convinced
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1.800.435.4700 opportunities. … I personally believe there’s three kinds of farmers in this country. There’s the small hobby farmer, there’s the sustainable or niche operator, and there’s commodity agriculture. My sincere hope is that we get the state and federal governments to realize their role Is it worth it? is to be helpful to all »I love it. I couldn’t three. We have an think of doing “We should eat awful lot of people in anything else. There’s plants, not things Indiana that want to times when it’s way, be small farmers. I way too much work. produced in plants. think the universities, But it’s very, very We should eat less the state department rewarding. The most rewarding thing meat, but it should be of ag, the board of about what we do is produced better. And health, all have a role in helping these that we sell directly all farmers, from the people. They’ve done to the customer, and they are extremely biggest to the littlest, a good job over the being helpful to appreciative. should get paid better years industrial agriculture: for what they do.” They’re promoting What do you Smithfield, which see happening — Greg Gunthorp is owned by the in the future? Chinese. The largest »The fact consumers beef processor in are on board with the U.S. is now owned by Brazil. But buying directly from farmers, cutting I’m not going to fight with them about out the middleman, and there being that because we’re going to build an transparency in the market to the point agriculture in Indiana that people are where consumers can buy products actually proud of because they know produced, processed and handled the where their food is coming from. way they want them, creates endless that you make your own luck. There’s a lot of no-sleep nights, a lot of standing 17 to 18 hours. But that’s what business owners do. You put your name on the wall, and somehow, at the end of the day, the work has to get done.
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Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
A Hoosier Homestead Gary and Maxine Jacobi are determined to keep their farm in the family
By Jim Mayfield
Photography by JOsh Marshall
A spirited band of barn swallows darts and swoops in the hot afternoon sun, flying precision runs through the small square window of Gary Jacobi’s barn, their V-tails flaring as they bank and roll between the beams. They’ve been swooping through that barn window for a long time now: about 200 years this summer, give or take a few to lay the timber and bring the barn out of the ground. On June 27, 1816, a short while before Indiana ceased being a territory en route to becoming the country’s 19th state and three years before Floyd County became a county, Mordecai Collins, a woodcrafter of Irish descent out of North Carolina, was fortunate enough to be the recipient of
The support column of the original barn built in 1816 or 1817. Inset, view of the homestead from the main road.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Maxine Jacobi inside the 1823 farm house. Right, the summer kitchen built in 1917.
a land grant signed by President James Madison Jr. Collins and his wife, Christina Byerly, took possession of 160 acres just south of Greenville in the lush, wooded and rolling country of southeastern Indiana. They built themselves a log farmhouse complete with cellar on the land that had formerly been Shawnee hunting grounds along the Vincennes Trace, a major buffalo migration route from roughly Louisville to Vincennes and then points farther west into Illinois. The bison did such a good job laying the land low that U.S. 150 follows part of the same path today. Two centuries later, Gary Jacobi and his sister, Maxine Jacobi, are the latest in a long line of Collins descendants to own the CTJ (Collins-Taylor-Jacobi) Farm, a property that continues to pump out crops after all those years. Gary points across the field to a tree line where the previous day a U.S. Forest Service surveyor had been attempting to pinpoint at least a portion of the old
buffalo trail while about 70 kids from the local Salvation Army summer camp spent the day down on the farm. The place is 200 years old, but Gary and Maxine keep it jumpin’.
As the years wound out from Collins’ era and prior to Gary and Maxine’s stewardship, the land descended through the various branches of the family tree until it was ultimately entrusted to the Jacobis’ uncle, Ernest Taylor, and his wife, Hettie. Ernest ran about 100 head of cattle on the working farm, which also produced corn and wheat, and he had firm ideas about how to make a living farming. “Ernest said wheat is the money you put in the bank, and you live off the corn and cattle,” Gary said. Today, the farm has expanded to 400 acres and is worked by two local farmers
to produce corn and soybeans. Though modern farming is now the order of the day, there is plenty to remind a visitor of the time when water had to be hauled from the nearby spring. Collins’ original farmhouse was replaced by a grand, two-story brick structure in 1823 that still stands true, crafted from bricks formed and fired from the property. An undated photo taken in the mid-1900s next to a recent photo of the brick home built in 1823.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Original barn (center) built in 1816 or 1817. Below, the Hoosier Homestead Sesquicentennial Award sign recognizing 150 years of original family ownership.
The house skeleton still contains the original sapling rafters, and the attic is a time capsule of wood craftsmanship, some of which dates back to Collins himself. Out in the old barn sit “Uncle Ernie’s” old Massey T0-35 and McCormick Farmall tractors that Gary still uses to mow. It’s just one of his ties to the past and family. “Just the thought that my uncle was on that tractor for all those hours …” Gary said. As Floyd County farm kids, Gary and Maxine left their father’s farm on the north side of Greenville to pursue bigger dreams. A soft-spoken man with a shy smile 20
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
who clearly enjoys people, Gary is a proud Purdue man who operated an independent pharmacy in Floyds Knobs before selling to Rite Aid in 2006. He’s still a pharmacist for the company in Jeffersonville and says he has no plans to retire any time soon. Maxine graduated from Western Kentucky University and went on to become a master teacher. Gary speaks proudly of his sister as a woman who still stands out in the memories of former students as a waypoint in their development. After she retired, Maxine returned to the CTJ Farm in 2005, reconnected with her days growing up and visiting the
place and stayed. She has no desire to be anyplace else. The fact that the farm has been continuously occupied since Collins settled is the primary reason everything is in such good shape, the Jacobis say. “There’s always been somebody living here,” Maxine said. And it’s always been family. A Hoosier Homestead Sesquicentennial Award farm sign noting 150 years of
family ownership attests to that fact at the head of the long, winding gravel driveway leading from Georgetown Greenville Road to the big farmhouse. This year, the farm became eligible for a bicentennial banner signaling 200 years of Hoosier family farm ownership. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture program began celebrating longterm family ownership of Hoosier farms in 1976, and since its inception, more
Jacobi looks through family photo albums. Below, the original sheepskin deed signed by James Madison and a family tree created in the mid-1900s headed by Mordecai Collins.
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than 5,000 Indiana farms and families have been recognized for maintaining generational farms for 100 years or more. As it stands today, Gary and Maxine aren’t sure who the farm will go to when the time comes. The latest succession plan is yet to be drawn. But they’re determined to keep it in the family — “in the bloodline.” Whomever in the Collins lineage the
farm passes to, it will all be there. The land, the big brick house, the old cabin and cellar, wash house and woodshed, along with the pie safe, elaborate iron washtub, spinning loom and furniture born of Mordecai’s own hand. If Gary and Maxine have anything to do with it, the barn swallows will be swooping through the family barn for years to come.
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history in the making
Bicentennial barn program recognizes more than 200 rural icons By CJ Woodring
Nedelkoff Barn, Floyd County
Sheets Barn, Howard County Burcham Barn, Porter County 22
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
As Indiana’s bicentenniaL commemoration continues to gather steam, communities and counties throughout the state are hosting celebrations showcasing Hoosier history, heritage, culture and pride. It’s a statewide birthday party, honoring the Dec. 11, 1816, founding of the 19th state. And everyone is invited. Projects, programs and events are as varied as the state’s terrain, as unique as the settlers who first called the region home. Many are community or county specific. Others, such as the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay and the Bison-Tennial, an art project featuring 5-foot fiberglass bison statues painted by local artists, involve all 92 counties. Statewide efforts also include Bicentennial Barns of Indiana, a program endorsed by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission as a Legacy Project. Indiana’s barns are the proud achievement of hard-working Hoosiers, serving as visual ties to the state’s agricultural heritage while exemplifying strength, honesty and determination. Beginning in February 2015, owners throughout the state were invited to submit photos and stories of barns constructed prior to 1950 and still standing. Each was posted in a permanent online registry at Bicentennial Barns of Indiana (200indianabarns.com). “Nothing is more inherent to Indiana’s history than its agricultural roots,” says Betsy Jones, member of a statewide bicentennial steering committee and program coordinator. “This program celebrates Indiana agriculture and the iconic barn through art and education. We were hoping to get thousands of entries, reaching into every community and representing every county.” In fact, the initial intent was to have two barns representative of each of the state’s 92 counties, for a total of nearly 200. But owners in more than a dozen counties didn’t respond, while others, in counties such as Allen and LaPorte, registered many. A committee of agriculturists and artists selected the top 200 barns from entries received by the December 2015 deadline. From among those, they honored the top 10 winners: Cindy Barber, Daviess County; Dr. Bogdan Nedelkoff, Floyd County; David Wendel, Franklin County; Keith Allhands, Henry County; Tim and Beth Sheets, Howard County; Greg and Deb Smoker, LaPorte County; Mark Feightner, Noble County; Casey Knigga, Ohio County; Roy Burcham, Porter County; and Rebecca Rouch, St. Joseph County. Winners are located throughout the state, from northwest Porter to tiny Floyd County near the Kentucky border. Most have been in the same family for generations, although the Ohio County winner, a three-story 1853 haypress barn, was rescued from demolition, relocated and restored. And each has a storied and colorful history to tell. These structures best celebrate Indiana’s classic barns and their impact on the state’s economy and history, Jones says.
Indiana Landmarks will recognize the top barn owners at the Indiana State Fair, in conjunction with the organization’s annual presentation of the John Arnold Award. The tentative date is Aug. 17, Farmers Day, Jones says, and all barn registrants are invited.
should last forever, and it’s pretty much a showpiece. “What most people don’t know is that barns are about more than agriculture. They’re our history. I see some of these barns that are falling apart and could kick the owners’ hind ends.”
What makes a winner?
Due to the number of outstanding entries, the selection process wasn’t easy. “We set criteria. Architectural and aesthetic features, along with the barn’s story, helped make decisions,” Jones says. “We didn’t really care about the actual structure, as long as it was still standing, because we didn’t want owners to feel bad if their barn wasn’t amazing or they hadn’t been able to keep it up. And we didn’t want to discourage those whose barns were leaning. In fact, we especially wanted those, so we could record them before something happened to them.” For example, while one of the top winners may not be considered exemplary, Jones says, it was selected because of its unique history: “In addition to housing the first registered herd of strawberry roan horses in Indiana, it was originally built as a distillery,” she says. Jones notes that about 50 percent of the barns are still used for farming. Among others, some are owned as businesses, some by individuals. A few are standing empty, living testaments to family history and rural culture. “One family made a huge investment in their barn, just out of pure love, and they don’t even use it,” she says. Although not a top winner, Lafayette resident Michael Hayes takes great pride in his barn, which was built in 1944 after the original structure was struck by lightning and burned. Hayes inherited the farm, which has been in his family since 1881, and has restored not only the barn but the original summer kitchen. “I knew if I didn’t do something last year, I might as well tear it down,” he says. “But I finally got it to where it
Along with public recognition and receipt of a commemorative sign, top owners also will receive a plaque, hand-crafted and framed by Scottsburg artist Dorrel Harrison. Designated as an Indiana Artisan in 2008, he creates threedimensional images of structures such as barns, mills and homes. Harrison has been making plaques for several years. And, at 72, he says he’s happy to honor Indiana’s heritage in this way, despite the fact he hails from upstate New York and has been a Hoosier for just 13 years. “I just kind of wanted to have something to leave behind and am happy I can be a part of the heritage of Indiana,” he says. Harrison creates the plaques primarily from reclaimed barn wood, framing them with poplar. Each barn’s history is chronicled on the back. Because of their intricacy, each takes about two weeks to create. Look closely, and you’ll see the artist’s signature buzzard on the face of each plaque, a message, he says, that the wood, like Christians, has been reborn. And that despite buzzards flying around after bad stuff, there’s a lot of good in the world. “God has given us each a talent. I’m just blessed I can get up every day and do this,” he says. “I really enjoy it.” “His artwork is so detailed and amazing, both from an artistic and aesthetic perspective,” Jones says. “That’s why it’s important: Because barns are not only part of our landscape, but they’re artwork and architectural icons, and he’s translating that.” Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
County call to action
ton, Owen, Pulaski, Spencer, Sullivan, Warrick and Wells. The initial contest — now considered a Jones says she’s enjoyed working on the permanent registry — officially closed in project. “The reaction from winners, and 2015. Jones says within the past several their pride of ownership, was just so amazweeks, they’ve received at least 30 more ing. Some owners were literally in tears, submissions, resulting in about 300 regissaying, ‘It just doesn’t get any better!’” tered barns. Because of the dif“There’s obviously ficulty in narrowing the a lot of interest in this, “We set criteria. field to just 10, she sugbecause it’s prompted a Architectural and gests that “some of the whole new wave, people aesthetic features, along structures should be recwanting to honor and with the barn’s story, ognized in other ways.” record and recognize helped make decisions.” To register a historic their barns. So I’m re—Betsy Jones barn, visit the permanent ally excited about that,” online registry at the Bicentennial Barns she says. of Indiana website (200 “All corners of the state are represented. indianabarns.com/how-to-register.html). Our wrap-up goal is still to get at least one A complete listing of legacy projects from each county, and we’re almost there.” can be found at the Indiana Bicentennial Counties still without representation Celebration 2016 website (in.gov/ibc/ at press time are: Adams, Benton, Fayette, legacyprojects/list.htm). Gibson, Greene, LaGrange, Martin, New-
Quintessential Quilt Project blankets the state
ore than a display of artistry, the Indiana Bicentennial Barn Quilt connects the state’s agrarian past with the future through stitches of love, confirming that the Hoosier work ethic, spirit of camaraderie and teamwork are alive and well. A joint venture of the Indiana Barn Foundation, Indiana Landmarks and the Indiana State Quilt Guild, the quilt is a major feature at this year’s Indiana State Fair: Celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial. And one that involves residents from each of the state’s 92 counties.
It takes a village
Launched in 2013, the Indiana Barn Foundation’s (IBF; indianabarns. org) mission is to support preservation of the state’s historic barns. Preserving barns through needlework wasn’t part of the plan. But the seed was planted when a fairgoer approached Carolyn Meyer Rahe, IBF founder and president, at the 2014 Indiana State Fair. “A woman came up to me and said (we) should do a quilt that features a barn from every county. I thought it was a great idea, and when one of our board members suggested we do a bicentennial project, I suggested the quilt,” she says. In February 2015 requests went out and quilt blocks came in. The first, submitted by Connie Kauffman, was a depiction of Amish Acres’
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Round Barn Theatre in Elkhart County. A Nappanee resident and 20-year quilter, she also designed the quilt. “Carolyn and I talked about the project to see if it could be done, because we knew it would have to be pretty big,” Kauffman recalls. “We worked on the layout and what the background should include. Others worked on the borders and embroidered the top and bottom. The project eventually garnered about 120 submissions from more than 70 Hoosier artists, including an 11-year-old boy. Abstract and realistic images of round and traditional barns grace the blocks — with a pig’s head thrown in for good measure. IBF board member Joy William coordinated the project, collecting the blocks. She also conceptualized a keepsake poster and a book that features barn photos and stories, along with information about contributing quilters. A quilter since her childhood in a Pennsylvania Mennonite community, the Hancock County resident said that more than the work itself, she was overwhelmed by quilters’ personal connections to barns and touched by how many contributors were concerned their block wouldn’t be good enough. “There were so many people that had an emotional connection to a specific barn, or the idea of farming, and wanted to do a block that conveyed that. Others sent things that were a family connection, and they knew the entire barn history and talked about their childhood. “I didn’t expect that,” she says. “I’d thought more along artistic lines. So when they submitted optional stories about their block — and some put quite a lot of work and research into them — I thought we needed to do a book and include that information.” Kauffman says the committee did a “fantastic job of pulling it all together. I’m proud of how it turned out, while also helping the foundation and generating awareness about Indiana’s historic barns.”
Fellowship of the traveling quilt
Blocks were painstakingly pieced together by members of the Anderson Redbud Quilt Guild and Indiana State Quilt Guild. Ruby Borkholder, a member of Bremen’s Amish community, then spent a month hand-quilting, adding batting and bindings. Rahe says Borkholder worked six days a week, resting only on the Sabbath, to ensure completion by deadline. Since its initial February unveiling, the quilt has been displayed at regional venues throughout the state (indianabarns.org/barn-quilt). Rahe says volunteer couriers hand deliver the priceless heirloom from site to site through missions of love that often involve overnight travel. “We’ve just had amazing support, mostly from quilters. Everyone wants to see it, so we’ve been trying hard to work them all in. It hasn’t necessarily been displayed in every county, but has been in every area of the state.” Because more than 92 squares were received, leftovers will be used to create other barn art, such as pillows and wall hangings, to be auctioned off along with the quilt. Rahe believes the project well represents the bicentennial, involving residents throughout the state at various stages. “It also brings together Indiana’s heritage: People have been quilting and building barns for 200 years, so it’s a modern piece that ties in these traditions,” she says. Following the fair, the quilt will hold center stage at the Indiana Bicentennial Barn Quilt Auction and Fundraising Event, which benefits IBF’s grants program. The auction will be held March 4 at Indiana Landmarks Center, Grand Hall, 1201 Central Ave., Indianapolis. Visit facebook.com/Indiana BicentennialBarnQuilt to see the quilt story, view community displays and meet Hoosiers who helped make it possible. To view the display schedule or order a keepsake poster or book, visit indianabarns.org.
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Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Alive And Well
Northeast Indiana company educates the community with food By CJ Woodring
Unhealthy eating patterns are difficult to change. And let’s face it: Old habits die hard when enticed by a slice of Indiana’s iconic sugar cream pie or a breaded pork tenderloin as big as a bison’s head. Which is why the owners of Angolabased Foods Alive pledge to offer products that introduce customers to healthy food options, while also providing information on maintaining a healthier lifestyle through holistic practices. And it all began with a flax cracker. Michael and Ellen Moor were introduced to flax crackers in 1999 during a visit to Vibrant Health Institute in Union City, Michigan. Intrigued by the unique flavor and health benefits the crackers provided, Ellen decided to whip up a batch at home. “I always liked to cook, basically traditional meals from the standard American diet,” she says. “But the concept the institute promoted was so different that we bought a copy of “Living in the Raw: Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle” [Rose 26
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Lee Calabro; 1998]. There were lots of recipes, and we just started trying them.” Ellen’s husband, meanwhile, switched gears after 20 years in the plastics industry. “My career definitely wasn’t in health,” he says. “And when I left it, I came home and wanted to do something with the family.” The Moors had large gardens, so for the next three years, they studied edible herbs and attempted to live off the land. They also evaluated comparable products: “When Ellen made the first flax cracker, we ordered crackers online from some companies, for comparison,” he says. “They were awful.” Ellen ultimately developed the certified organic, gluten-free, high-fiber recipe that defines her trademark Raw Golden Flax Crackers, now available in several flavors. In doing so, she launched a family-owned and operated company that ships globally from its northeast Indiana base. In early 2006, Foods Alive began cold-pressing its own golden flax oil in small batches, resulting in the company’s
Organic Gourmet Golden Flax Oil Dressings. The dressings, along with Moor’s flax crackers, are mainstays of their products and remain customer favorites. In retrospect, Ellen says, “I never dreamed I’d be making crackers for anyone but my family.” ‘Bringing life to people’ In 2002 the couple opened Foods Alive Inc., which they co-own with their son and daughter-inlaw, Matt and Tammy Alvord. Initially operated out of their home, the business soon forced the Moors to turn their garage into a commercial kitchen. In 2015 they expanded again, moving into a 10,000-square-foot facility. While not Angola’s sole health food store, Foods Alive is the only manufacturer, primarily selling only products they make, along with a handful of items sourced from other suppliers. The product line, which is 99.5 percent organic, ranges from raw, chocolate products and artisan coldpressed organic flax oil to therapeutic essential oils, books, fermenting crocks and Foods Alive Gear, e.g., insulated bags, lip balm and bio coffee with a free mug. Foods Alive ships nationwide to health food stores that include Whole Foods markets and to several global customers. Products are also sold to walk-ins, from the company webEllen and Michael Moor
site and through Amazon. They are also available at select Indiana, Ohio and Michigan locations, including 3 Rivers Coop, Fort Wayne, and Pro Wellness Chiropractic, Fishers. At a local level, the family hosts monthly raw food potlucks at the store, introducing guests to the health benefits of uncooked food. In addition, Tammy Alvord, a degreed holistic lifestyle adviser, provides private consultations for individuals with specific questions or health issues. Foods Alive now boasts 10 employees overall. The majority have been on board since nearly the beginning. “We have a great group,” Ellen says. “We’re very happy and work together both as friends and as a team.” Vice President Matt Alvord has overseen and helped grow the company since his parents hired him at the age of 25. Combining a stint at a grocery store while a teenager, subsequent factory and sales work, a bit of college and extensive
computer expertise, Matt added a website design course, parlaying cumulative experience into what he considered “a great opportunity.” The position also provided a means for exploring food allergies after learning his daughter was lactose intolerant. Matt and his wife introduced lactose-free options to their family’s diet, along with healthier food products. “Our aunts, uncles and cousins thought we were kind of crazy, but now, in the last couple of years, they’ve been asking Tammy for advice,” he says. Foods Alive isn’t about selling a specific product or brand name. It’s about promoting a holistic lifestyle through use of those products. “People are so glad to be learning about healthy choices and where they can get them. They’re really paying attention more and wanting to make changes,” Ellen says. Such changes appear long overdue in Indiana, where in 2014 hordes of hefty Hoosiers resulted in the state’s seventhplace national ranking in obesity, according to “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America.” “Indiana has been slower than other states in adopting healthy lifestyles,” Michael says. “Awareness is happening, just not as much in Indiana. So part of our job is educating people to the best of our ability … bringing life to people.” Cost is also a factor. It’s expensive to eat organic and/or to accommodate food sensitivities. Is there any one food, one healthy component, people can introduce into their diets to offset unhealthy, processed food?
Michael answers an emphatic yes. “They can do this very inexpensively by going to a health food store, grocery store or even Wal-Mart and buying organic flax seed,” he says. “If they grind it up and put it into their food ... cereal, oatmeal, pasta, yogurt … they’re adding omega-3 oils and fiber to their diet.” Hemp and non-GMO for life Jennifer Kirk, a loyal customer since doors opened, has several reasons for visiting Foods Alive: her husband and children. The Angola resident says she’s very health conscious, always researching new options and integrating them into her family’s diet. The local store is her destination of choice, its products appealing to all family members. “Foods Alive always has new products, and every time I try them, I love them,” she says, noting that family favorites include Chocolate Medallions, Ginger Snap Organic Flax and Chia Snackers, as well as various salad dressings. “My husband likes the Onion Ring Clusters, our 4-year-old is on a Golden Berry kick, and the kids’ friends like any of the crackers. Everything is always a hit, even for those not so health-conscious.” As for the owners,
Kirk says, “they’re the neatest people to be around and very much like a life force. Their products are just as special and wonderful as they are.” Because Foods Alive is among a handful of Hoosier businesses that use hemp on a daily basis — products include hulled hemp seeds, protein powder and organic flax crackers — Matt says they’re “pretty involved” in supporting hemp growth and production within Indiana, which lags behind adjacent states, such as Kentucky. Within the next five years, he says, he envisions organic food becoming increasingly mainstream through proponents such as TV host Dr. Oz, Michael adds. Matt agrees. “Non-GMO talk is definitely out there more, especially since Vermont passed a mandatory labeling law, which forced big companies, beginning July 1, to label all genetically engineered food sold in that state,” he says. The family will continue developing new products, including healthy snack alternatives such as the Good’N Hearty Onion Ring Clusters. “The onions are dipped in batter made out of seeds, herbs and spices, and then dehydrated,” Matt says. “So it tastes like junk food but is really nutritious.” And while flax crackers remain best-sellers, he says Lemon Chia Crunch Power Snackers are an up-and-comer: “People say they taste like lemon pie in a cracker.” Michael cites organic gourmet golden flax oil as another
popular seller. “Everyone is looking for omega-3s, and most are looking for them in flax oils,” he says. “People are getting fed up taking medications, with all their side effects, and are looking for something natural that will truly help their body heal itself. “Our bodies don’t produce essential fatty acids, so we have to get them from the food we eat. Food that is the least processed retains all the oils and energies, so the more unprocessed food you can eat, the better.” While acknowledging that people are apt to be overwhelmed when trying to implement change into their diet, Michael says they need to take baby steps. “All they need to do is to find out the things that are making them unhealthy. Eliminate one item at a time, such as dairy or wheat, and see what effect it has. Don’t try to change everything all at once.” Foods Alive Inc. is located at 300 Industrial Drive, Suite C, Angola. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Call (260) 488-4497 or visit foodsalive.com.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Liberty Feed and Bean Meal
Feeding the Need Organic livestock farmers find new approaches to sourcing animal grain By Jon Shoulders
W When Darby Simpson began farming in 2007, he realized from Day 1 that raising his animals on feed that is not produced from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) would be more costly and time consuming than sourcing from the nearest conventional feed mill. However, Simpson believed in the health benefits of taking such an approach and one year later struck up a business relationship with Central Indiana Organics, a Lebanon-based supplier of certified organic, conventional and non-GMO feed. He still goes the extra mile — literally — for his feed and feels the extra cost, time and energy he’s spent over the years are worthwhile. “It’s definitely more expensive to go either non-GMO or organic, and Central Indiana Organics is about 50 minutes away from us,” says Simpson, who owns and operates Martinsville-based Simp-
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
son’s Farm Market, a poultry, beef, pork and turkey farm. “There aren’t many other suppliers in our area though. If you work smart, you can make it work though, if using organic or non-GMO feed is important to your farm.” Simpson adds that while organic products are, by definition, not genetically modified, non-GMO products aren’t necessarily organic, and producers should choose their desired feed carefully before finding the appropriate suppliers. Even as consumer demand for nonGMO and organic products continues to rise, both remain niche market products. The 2012 U.S. Census revealed that less than 1 percent of U.S. farms are certified organic or exempt from organic certification requirements. As such, both certified organic and non-GMO feed costs have remained noticeably higher than conventional feeds for suppliers and their customers. Nathan Shutt, co-owner of Shelbyvillebased Liberty Feed and Bean Meal, says the typical price difference between non-GMO and conventional feeds is substantial — roughly $6 to $7 more per bag — but many of his customers feel the health benefits are simply too important to ignore and often find creative ways to offset the additional cost. “We have a bunch of folks that have partnered up, where one of them will take a trailer here and then take back maybe a ton and a half or two tons of feed to their area, and then settle up amongst themselves,” he says. “That can help save on travel cost.” Shutt’s customers come from all over the state, including Madison, Bloom-
ington and north of Indianapolis, for Liberty’s variety of non-GMO feeds, which include full-fat bean meal, roasted corn and triple-cleaned oats. “Non-GMO corn really isn’t too terribly hard to find, but something like clean oats that haven’t been sprayed with anything, those are really getting hard to find,” Shutt says. “We had been getting them out of Canada, but Parliament recently passed a law allowing the use of Roundup. It’s gotten tough to find people that aren’t spraying oats.” Jeff Evard, certification manager at Plainfield-based Ecocert ICO, an organic certification agency accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says in addition to checking with the nearest mills and feed supply retailers, farmers shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to fellow producers in their area to learn how they handle the challenges that come with sourcing organic or non-GMO feed. “Not everybody puts out a sign that says they’re organic, and you might find that someone 20 miles down the road stores the kind of feed you need,” Evard says. “You can at least talk to others and get some insight into how they operate or where they source from.” Simpson says working smarter as a producer to make certified organic or non-GMO feed a realistic option includes three factors: First, always buy in bulk whenever possible so that travel expenses are minimized and invest in bulk bins for storage. Second, keep carefully detailed records of costs in order to charge customers accordingly. “It helps you make a non-emotional decision and charge appropriately for your time and labor and Photo by JOsh Marshall
S E E everything,” Simpson says. “You can’t be the same price as everybody else if your feed costs, say, 30 percent more due to being non-GMO or certified organic.” This leads to Simpson’s third piece of advice — educate consumers as to the reasons for the increased costs. “We spend a lot of time marketing, explaining and educating consumers on why we’re different and why non-GMO matters, and basically justifying the cost,” he says. “It informs and reassures the consumer, which is important.” Evard says small-scale producers can always pool resources and begin simply milling their own livestock feed. “A lot of organic producers that we work with, they’ll grow a lot of their grains, whether it’s grass or corn or soybean,” he says. “I’ve seen folks going in together and
purchasing some sort of commercial apparatus to grind grain, which lives at one guy’s farm where he grinds the grain, and then the group of people figure it out financially.” Evard adds that under USDA regulations, farms that sell under $5,000 worth of farm products annually are exempt from certification requirements when labeling products as organic. Evard, like Shutt, feels that for those without their own milling equipment, cooperative purchasing of organic or non-GMO feed can be another effective approach, where travel and feed expenses are distributed among a large group. “You’ve got to be creative, and you’ve got to approach it as an entrepreneur,” he says. “You’ve got to find solutions to your problems, and sometimes those solutions don’t come in a package in a box store.”
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Honeyville Feed and Farm Supply 9240 W. Road 400S, Topeka (260) 593-9943, honeyvillefeedmill.com Feed types: Organic, non-GMO, conventional Visit the USDA Organic Integrity Database to search for certified organic producers in Indiana, by city and product type, at apps. ams.usda.gov/integrity.
For resources and information on launching a cooperative organization, visit the Indiana Cooperative Development Center website at icdc.coop. Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
— Fairly —
Fabulous By Jon Shoulders
State fair events and exhibitions will honor Indiana’s bicentennial
Indiana State Fair visitors can consume a generous helping of Hoosier history along with their pork sandwiches, apple dumplings and fried drumsticks at this year’s 17-day fair, which runs from Aug. 5 through 21. In celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday, which officially occurs on Dec. 11, each day of the fair will feature an Indiana farm that has received the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Hoosier Homestead Award, a distinction for farms that have been owned by one family for 100 years or longer. The inclusion of featured farms at this year’s fair continues the popularity of last year’s theme, the Year of the Farmer, for which one Indiana farm was featured every day. “The farmers each day will take part in several activities around the fair, whether it’s being featured as a celebrity in the milking contest, the parades or some of our porch parties, and then they’ll be available each day for a Q and A in the Glass Barn at Left, radio personality Dave O’Brien at a past celebrity milking contest. Above, Bisontennial Public Art Project.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
2:30,” says Lesley Gordon, communications director for the Indiana State Fair Commission. “It’s great to build on the popularity of the featured farm presence last year, continue the exposure and educate those attending about Indiana farms and their history.” French Lick Winery in Martin County will be featured on Aug. 16, and Kim Doty, who co-owns the winery and eight-acre vineyard with her husband, John, says the exposure will be a great opportunity to share each farm’s story and products. “I’m so proud and excited to celebrate what we do, knowing that the land has stayed in my family for all these years,” says Doty, whose land was first acquired by her great-greatgrandfather. “I’m so glad the State Fair is doing this.” Additional fair attractions with historical components will include the Indiana Bicentennial Train, in which attendees can learn about state history in the context of transportation and land use, as well as the Pioneer Village, where guests can study how state residents lived well before the 20th century. In keeping with the fair’s agricultural history theme, space near the fairgrounds’ Glass Barn building will display several 5-foot-tall, fiberglass bison that are part of a statewide art exhibit called the Bison-tennial Public Art Project, coordinated by the Indiana Association of United Ways. The goal
of the project’s directors is to recruit artists and sponsors around the state to decorate life-sized bison statues and display at least one in each of Indiana’s 92 counties until the end of the year. Chosen for its former presence in large numbers throughout the state during migrations, bison laid the groundwork for some of Indiana’s first wagon routes and subsequent roads. Gordon says throughout this year’s fair the Indiana Farmers Coliseum will be dedicated solely to livestock competitions and exhibitions. “That will hopefully help with the load-ins and load-outs and things like that, which some of our exhibitors in the past have had concerns about,” she says. “We’re excited to be able to spread the schedule out there and address some of those concerns.” The coliseum will house 4-H functions, a mini Hereford cattle competition and several national horse competitions, among many other events. A complete daily schedule with start times is available on the official fair website. Those planning to attend can arrange the details of their visit through a free mobile application, presented by Western Governors University-Indiana, which Gordon says will include information on “everything you could possibly want to know about the fair. Hopefully it will enhance your experience so maybe you’ll see some things
Mechanical bull ride at the Indiana State Fair.
2016 Indiana State Fair Theme: Celebrating Indiana’s Bicentennial When: Aug. 5-21 Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis Ticket information:
$8 plus convenience fees for advance general admission; $30 plus convenience fees for advance four-pack general admission; $5 plus convenience fees for advance parking passes. $12 for individual general admission starting Aug. 5 at fair entrance gate. Free admission for children age 5 and younger. Purchase advance tickets online at indianastatefair.com/state-fair/tickets-discounts. Contact: (317) 927-7500, indianastatefair.com/ state-fair. Visit official website for profiles on featured farmers, entertainment and attraction listings, ticketing options, parking and shuttle details, and more.
Indiana State Fair Featured Farmers (sponsored by Dow AgroSciences): Aug. 5: Eliason Homestead – Centerville Aug. 6: Rissler Farm – Reelsville Aug. 7: TK Hattery Farms – Peru Aug. 8: Springstun Farm – Boonville Aug. 9: Ramsey Farms – Shelbyville
you haven’t before,” she says. “It’s going to be a very detailed schedule, and you’ll be able to create your own itinerary per day, share it with friends on social media and plan ahead of time, instead of just getting there and looking through the schedule book. It will be very interactive.” The application can be downloaded free of charge on the official fair website. During the first 10 days of the fair, visitors will be able to sample food from vendors competing in a Taste of the Fair contest and vote for their favorite cre-
ation through the free mobile application. The winner will then be announced on Aug. 14, and the victorious vendor will be able to tout the winning dish for the remainder of the fair. “The big feedback we’ve been getting is that the public can’t take part in selecting what the fair’s signature food is every year,” Gordon says. “We typically have a panel of judges, and they’re always great, but it’s a little limited, so this year we’re excited to give it a little life and a little interaction with the public.”
Aug. 10: Sands Farms – Silver Lake Aug. 11: Keiser Farms – Poland Aug. 12: Rulon Enterprises – Arcadia Aug. 13: Beard Family Farms LLC – Columbia City Aug. 14: Kunkel Dairy Inc. – Decatur Aug. 15: Booher Farms – Montmorenci Aug. 16: French Lick Winery – French Lick Aug. 17: Dull’s Tree Farm – Thorntown Aug. 18: Maple Farms – Kokomo Aug. 19: The Browns Inc. – North Judson Aug. 20: Hammelman Farm – Edwardsport Aug. 21: Bishop Farms – Leesburg
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
From the field
The Lure of the Farm
By Cheryl Carter Jones
Recently, Charles Stanley delivered a great message in his television sermon. He talked about drifting and how he has watched as people in our country and around the world gradually have wandered over the past few decades away from strong ethics, values, family time around the evening supper table and religion. He referenced the terrorist acts that are becoming way too common, drug addiction, crime in general and all the problems in politics. As I sat and gave thought to his words, he had articulated part of the enticement for me to come back to the farm. It is more than growing nutritional food. It is all encompassing; it is a way of life. While the hours are long, it can offer a slower way of existing, more meaningful and purposeful in my eyes.
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As a business consultant, I watched as individuals were living in the fast lane. Corporate America and all the material things and conveniences available to us today have an appealing magnetism. I, too, was completely engrossed in the quest to make a difference in a corporation at one time. It was like being a drug addict. I could not wait for the next challenge — the next fix. And I do believe that my efforts mattered while I was there, but when I resigned, the company did not falter. There was nary a hiccup. That life, however, pulls us away from the things that truly should matter the most. I missed time with my family that could not be recouped, and I gave up a lot of vacation days I should have taken. Life on the farm is not an easy life, but
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make choices daily on the farm. We it requires us to think about the things do that based on what is truly most that matter most. It is often a family essential in the scope of things. endeavor that bonds family members Farming keeps us grounded. together in a very special way. It is one of For many farmers today, the equipthe hardest professions there is, and yet ment is very high tech, but the time it offers a simple way of life that seems to is still spent in the naturally sort out field. There is somewhat is most vital Cheryl Carter thing quite special and prioritizes life Jones is an about the thinking, accordingly. Indiana soul-searching and It reminds us farmer and contemplating you to be thankful for the president do while on a tractor our blessings, such of the Local or while tending the as a much-needed Growers’ Guild, crops. It really does rain or a bountia cooperative of farmers, retailers not matter if it occurs ful harvest. We are and community members dedicated on a tractor as big as reminded daily of to strengthening the local food economy in central and southern a small house, or as the significance of Indiana through education, direct you kneel down on each person and support and market connections. your knees to pull every living thing For more information on the guild, weeds by hand. There — our family, our visit localgrowers.org. is such a surreal satisanimals, our plants, faction in connecting right down to the with the soil, not to microbes in the mention the satisfaction when someone soil. We are reminded that we must take in their 90s eats your strawberries and care of the soil and tend to its needs, if vows to never eat a supermarket strawin turn, we want it to reciprocate with berry again. That is, unless it comes healthy and bountiful crops. from the Indiana Grown section of the We recognize and value the role produce department. everything plays in the cycle of life. I left the farm and enjoyed success, We have to prioritize our needs and
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intellectually and financially. Yet there was a missing piece in my life. There is something alluring about the satisfaction one derives from nurturing a garden, growing crops and tending to animals, spending time with family working hard to accomplish the tasks at hand and the satisfaction gained from the ingenuity every farmer must have to survive. I used a new piece of equipment today, and on its inaugural run, I was busy contemplating the adjustments and changes I would make to it to improve on its performance. I stopped and laughed — I am my father’s daughter. Farming is a way of life, composed of many simple and satisfying traditions. One that causes me to look to the majestic sky at the end of the day in a different way, to be humbled by the sanctity of the heavens and to genuinely desire to become one with nature. I might say that part of the lure for me came with age. My generation, as a whole, sought success and measured it financially. Many millennials seem to seek a way of life, hoping to be able to afford some land to farm from the start. It is very encouraging to see a group of 10 to 15 young people attending a permaculture class and latching on to every word. Rock on, millennials.
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It is one of the hardest professions there is, and yet it offers a simple way of life that seems to naturally sort out what is most vital and prioritizes life accordingly.
Longing for the interdependence one has with the land brought me back to my roots and spiritual origin. I believe that nature offers us what we need to take care of ourselves. I believe that we have become too dependent on man-made drugs that we could avoid by taking advantage of what nature has to offer. I am still at the beginning of my journey, but every day is an exciting and adventurous one. If you do not live on a farm, visit one. It does the soul good.
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Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
From the field
The View at Nightfall
Compromise / Promise 3:
Small, Tangible Change By Liz Brownlee
I hate to admit it, but I’m a worrier. I can keep a sunny attitude most of the time, but I worry about the future, about whether people are going to have fun at the party I’m hosting, about whether my hens will ever start laying eggs. Worrying is in my blood. But so is work. Nate and I moved back to Indiana to work hard, to improve the family farm and to provide better community access to good, local food. That brings us to the third part of our three-part series. We want to acknowledge the compromises — and celebrate the promises — of small-scale, local agriculture. The final compromise/promise is that the type of changes we can create on our farm are almost certainly small in nature. This fact frustrates me and buoys me,
because small change may be the only I was reminded of the promise of smallviable kind. Here’s what I mean. scale, local agriculture throughout the There’s no denying that we face major winter. Nate and I were asked to present problems: How do we feed the world? at all sorts of community events — at How do we address climate change, the library about finding local food and which is already bringing intense rainpasture-raised meat; to third-graders on storms to southern Indiana? I can be career day; to other farmers about grazparalyzed by these big worries. ing animals on pasture. We shared what Surely big, sweeping changes are we do on our farm, provided information necessary. I can write my representaand answered questions. tives and sign petitions After each presentaand march at rallies and tion, participants stayed to After years vote, but at some point, say that our story and the of gaining experience I have to admit that the increase in small-scale, loon other place I’m going to make cal agriculture gives them farms, Nate the most change is right hope for the planet and Brownlee and here at home. That’s a for our rural communities. his wife, Liz, compromise for someThat is flattering to be sure, moved back one like me, who wants but it’s also an important to Indiana to start their own family big, positive change for reminder: People take hope farm, which they named Nightfall the world. from small-scale agriculture Farm. Here, they share stories of the many trials, tribulations, successes But here’s the promise: because it’s tangible work and failures in running a family By farming and selling and it’s creating real change business. For more on Nightfall food locally, I can create a for our customers and our Farm, visit nightfallfarm.com. positive impact in my comfamily farm. munity right now in small The changes are small. but meaningful ways. One more family with a nutritious pork Wendell Berry, the Kentucky farmer roast on the table; one more third-grader and author, says that the big changes are who knows that you can raise a turkey necessary, but that the small ones are outdoors. This compromise is hard for critical. Why? Because small changes are someone like me who worries late into real and because they give hope. the night about big problems that require “Small solutions do not wait upon the major change. But the progress is real, future,” he wrote. “Insofar as they are and it’s what our community is asking for. possible now, exist now, are actual now, This is the promise of small-scale, local they give hope. There is in fact much at agriculture: We move forward together, hand that is good, useful, encouraging, with hope, making tangible changes with and full of promise.” our community with each new day.
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Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Photo submitted by Liz Brownlee
‘Why are we going this way?’
by Katie Glick
I really should know better than to ask that question. Growing up with a dad who was a farmer and now being married to one, you just know that sometimes you are along for the ride. And sometimes they are the best rides. We were returning home recently from the lake, and my husband turned a different way — a new way that I had never been. “Why are we going this way?” I asked. And I got the classic farmer answer: “I want to check some fields.” “Great,” I thought, another road for me to learn in this county that I’m still getting used to. Much of what you learn growing up on a farm is from things you observe. Growing up, I would patiently wait in the back seat or next to my dad in the truck. One thing I learned pretty quickly
is that he could drive on the road without actually watching the road. It was as if he had eyes on the sides of his head as he looked out the windows to check each row of corn and soybeans growing in the fields. When I first started to notice this, I was scared. But then I realized that we were safe, and it was just part of the farmer way of life. The second thing I learned was not to ask where we were going. My dad was going to get us home or to our destination even if it took a little longer, which I learned was OK. We got to explore new ways of getting somewhere; we learned new things along the way about the history of our county or the family that once farmed the land. Our parents never let us have a TV in the car, and we rarely read or played games. Instead, we looked out the window at the fields or roads or towns along our drive and explored the world on a different path each time. The third lesson I learned from unexpected drives was to listen. Once you get farmers in their element or on a topic they know, you learn a lot. I basically learned much of what I know about farming, the crops we grow, weed and pest control, the markets, the weather and the land I love by listening to my dad on these drives. And now I’ve continued that tradition of listening and learning with my husband.
I’m not one to question God about the way things are going or the path he has set forth before me. So I’m not sure why I asked that question because I am certain he was taking us along a path that would lead us to where we were going, we would get there safely and I would even learn a thing or two along the way. With today’s ever present questions of “why this way?” and “why that way?” about so many topics and issues, I feel pretty lucky to know why I am going a certain way and down a certain path. And even if I don’t, I know everything will be OK when we get there. I hope you have that confidence, and if not, maybe you should take a drive with a farmer.
Katie Glick grew up on her family farm in Martinsville and now lives with her husband on their farm near Columbus, where they grow corn, soybeans and wheat, raise cattle and have a private seed company. She is a graduate of Purdue University and has worked in Indiana politics. She now works in the agriculture industry within our state. She shares her personal, work, travel and farm life stories on her blog, “Fancy in the Country.”
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Corner of State St. & Behren Ct. in Columbus, Indiana
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
From the field from who knows where, or flavorful, juicy and fleshy purple or crimson Indiana tomatoes? From produce to pickled seasonal items, fresh rules the roost at farmers markets. Artisan breads and pastries are freshly baked within hours of the opening bell. Value-added and prepared food ingredients are purchased directly from farmers one week and transformed into strawberry jam and grilled breakfast veggie pizzas the next. Salivating yet?
Farmers markets support local
It’s a great time to shop at a farmers market By Christina M. McDougall
August is peak harvest time for Indiana fruits, vegetables and herbs. Whether you fancy corn, tomatoes or crisp apples, every Indiana farmers market is sure to have fresh-from-thefarm delectables. National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 7 to 13 and thus the perfect opportunity to converse about farmers markets’ roles in Indiana.
Farmers markets promote fresh Farmers markets increase access to fresh, nutrient-dense food. Indiana farmers vending at markets largely harvest produce 48 hours prior to market. Peak harvesting means market produce is more nutrient dense than unripe produce picked weeks too early. Would you rather eat tasteless, mealy and slightly green tomatoes
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Farmers markets support local farmers and food entrepreneurs. Shopping at markets keeps 67 cents per dollar in the community. Farmers market vendors travel on average 50 miles to market. From central to southwest Indiana, more than three dozen farmers vend at markets within 10 miles of their farms. Urban farms, microfarms and microgreens growers are hyper-local, often vending at markets within one mile of their farms. These mini-plots are usually under an acre and burst with trays of tiny sprouts that green city blocks, repurposed warehouses and Hoosiers’ tables. Hoosier Farmers Market Association (HFMA) and its member markets are dedicated to maintaining quality grower-only, producer-only venues. HFMA recommends a minimum of 60 percent producer-only products and/or vendors from Indiana farmers and food artisans. Many member markets exceed this recommendation and are 80 percent-plus producer-only markets.
Farmers markets increase food access Farmers markets increase food access in communities for our most vulnerable neighbors. Not only are nearly all Hoosier Farmers Markets located in low income and/ or low access communities (food deserts), but they address food access via federal nutrition programs, incentive programs and gleaning. Each Hoosier Farmers Market member participates in at least one federal nutrition program. Statewide, the number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program authorized markets has increased 150 percent since 2013. More than 100 Indiana farmers markets and farm markets accept SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). According to the Indiana Department of Health, more than 600 farmers at nearly 100 farmers markets participate in the Women, Infant & Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
These three programs connect local farmers with low-income households, increase access to fresh, local produce, and would be impossible without our dedicated Indiana farmers. Community-based, need-driven incentive programs leverage public funds through private donations. Fresh Bucks Indy, Bloomington Community Farmers Market Market Bucks and the new Market Money Program double the value of federal nutrition benefits. Each family can receive up to an additional $500 a summer to spend on local produce by shopping one day per week at a participating market. Farmers market federal nutrition programs plus incentive programs generated almost $400,000 in 2015 for Indiana. That’s no small potatoes. Volunteers also lead nutrition programs. Gleaning redirects produce from Indiana farmers to food pantries, social services agencies and directly to veterans. In 2015, the Glean Indiana: Farmers Markets to Food Pantries Program redirected eight tons of produce from six markets.
Farmers markets are in, of and for community Farmers markets are in the hearts of communities. Managed by chambers, cities, towns, churches and volunteers, markets locate on town squares, in or near historic buildings and in public parks. I previously mentioned how farmers markets are of the community, composed of Indiana growers and producers. Each farmers market is unique for its community. Locally crafted cutting boards and pottery adorn tents of kitchenware artisans. Markets invite local musicians or host jammer tents — for instrumentalists, not jelly canners. And yes, a few have canning demonstrations. Some welcome nonprofits to share information about health initiatives. Pet a rescue dog, baby goat or giant tortoise at a market. These markets are lively, whimsical and familyfriendly centers of entrepreneurial activity. Celebrate fresh, local food access this August by visiting your area farmers market. You’ll be investing in our Indiana economy, supporting your neighbors, participating in your community and devouring the juiciest tomatoes. Christina M. McDougall is the founder and executive director of Hoosier Farmers Market Association, Indiana’s statewide farmers market education nonprofit. She sits on the USDA Food & Nutrition Service’s Good Greens Council.
In the Classroom By Katherine Coplen
Cover crops, soil amendments and queen bee insemination are all topics of this month’s farm tours, workshops and classes. Aug. 1
There’s still plenty of sun left in summer to kick off your porch container garden. This workshop will help you master questions of soil, fertilizer and light. Master Gardener Debbie Reese teaches. Time: 6:45 p.m.
This two-day course is for beekeepers looking to keep their hives happy and healthy. The class is very small; register in advance. Class offers instruction and hands-on practice of semen collection and insemination of queens. Queen and drone biology lecture, along with information on preparation and care of virgin queens and drones. Successful queen rearing skills are a prerequisite. Provision of your own insemination equipment is required. Time: 9 a.m.
Herbal Container Gardening
Location: Clay Township Center, 10701 N. College Ave., Indianapolis. Information: herbsocietyofcentralindiana.org.
DuPont Pioneer Plant Science Symposium
A variety of speakers will present at this free symposium, including researchers from Purdue University, the universities of Missouri and Nebraska, DuPont Pioneer and the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo. Attendees will participate in roundtables, have networking opportunities, get a tour of Purdue’s new phenotyping facility and hear presentations from grad students. Time:
Instrumental Insemination Class
Location: Purdue University Honey Bee Laboratory, Entomology Department, West Lafayette. Information: email@example.com.
Garfield Park Workshop: I Harvested. Now What?
Those container gardens you’ve been so lovingly tending? It’s time to harvest, dry, store and eventually cook with them. And Herb Society experts are going to show you how. Time: 10
8 a.m. Location: Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
a.m. Location: Garfield Park Conservatory, 3505 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis. Information: herbsocietyofcentralindiana.org.
This webinar covers the latest data and analysis from the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy barometer and offers speaker presentations. Time:
This three-day workshop is for local agri-marketing people looking to learn from world-renowned experts. Program includes next big steps for your company’s marketing strategy, action plans and strategies. Location:
Ag Economy Barometer
1:30 p.m. Location: Online. Information: ag.purdue.edu/commercialag.
Purdue University, West Lafayette. Information: agribusiness.purdue.edu.
Purdue Beginning Farm Program Tour: Lawrenceburg Purdue’s beginning farmer tours continue at Greystone in Lawrenceburg, where attendees will learn about pasture-raised meats, eggs, honey and herbs. Plan to register in advance, although the tour is free.
Time: 10 a.m. Location: Greystone Farm, 2320 Liberty Lane, Lawrenceburg. Information: (765) 496-2161.
Purdue Beginning Farmer Program Regional Workshop: New Albany
Purdue’s beginning farmer tours head south to New Albany, where attendees will learn about beekeeping, on-farm animal processing, livestock production systems and food safety issues. Plan to register in advance, although the tour is free. Time: noon. Location: Purdue
Polytechnic, 3000 Technology Ave., New Albany. Information: (765) 496-1930.
This webinar features results from the June Purdue Land Values Survey and offers speaker presentations.
This field day covers ID, damage and control of invasive species and landowner program assistance, plus coverage of personal protective equipment. Time: 9 a.m. Location:
Land Values in Indiana Time: 9 a.m. Location: Online. Information: ag.purdue.edu/commercialag.
Purdue/OSHA Grain Dust Training Workshop The workshop includes sessions on handling and unloading grain, industrial hazards and engineering controls, as well as a demonstration of grain dust explosion. Participants who finish the training will receive a certificate of completion. Register by Aug. 10. Time: 1 p.m. Location: Jasper County
SEPAC Field Day
Southeast Purdue Ag Center, Butlerville. Information: (812) 352-3033.
Davis Purdue Ag Center Field Day
This field day covers gypsum as a soil amendment, corn and soybean herbicide plots, cover crops and nitrogen availability, and a precision agriculture presentation. Time:
8:30 a.m. Location: 6230 State Road 1, Farmland. Information: (765) 4687022 or email@example.com.
Fairgrounds, 2671 W. Clark St., Rensselaer. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
How did you become involved with food and eventually, C3? What’s your background? Throughout my career, I have always kept with the concept that fresh is always the right way to go. It was instilled in me from the start of my career over 10 years ago in Tucson, Arizona. The first chef I worked for always used the freshest ingredients and changed his menu with the seasons to ensure that the product being served was of the best quality. I kept this philosophy as I worked in kitchens in multiple states for some really great, forward-thinking chefs who saw the drive I had to be the best. Culinary school was not my path, so instead I chose to work my way up the brigade.
Q & A with Levi Massie, executive chef at C3, Bloomington
A Food Philosophy
Chef Levi Massie has traveled the country learning his trade and incorporating fresh and local food at every turn in his journey. Bloomington now serves as home to this weary traveler, where Massie shares his talents and his love of locally sourced food. By Twinkle VanWinkle
What’s your involvement with C3? I am the executive chef at C3 in the Renwick neighborhood on the east side of Bloomington. Was there any reason that particular building or locale was chosen for C3? The C3 idea began with the conceptualization of the Renwick neighborhood itself. The center piazza has multiple offerings from a small bakery coffee shop to a doctor’s office, so a place to eat and drink was a must. … Seventy percent of our clientele are coming from within a mile of C3, and just like a lot of other establishments, we have our regulars as well as new guests all the time. The owners of C3 found it necessary to establish a place where guests could come no matter the occasion — sitting down to a multicourse dinner and crafted cocktails to lighter fare for snacking and conversation. The creative side pushes to provide new ways to keep guests interested and, most of all, coming back.
Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
When did you make it to Bloomington? June 2015 I found myself moving with my now fiancée to Bloomington. She was offered an executive pastry chef position for IMU (Indiana Memorial Union) catering and explained to me how Bloomington was somewhat of a mecca for farm fresh ingredients and the farming community was very prevalent. The first week we were here, she took me to the summer market, and I instantly knew this was the right place for me to expand my farm fresh philosophy. The fact that my fiancée’s uncle is Jim Baughman from Freedom Valley Farm made it easier meeting and sourcing from local farmers. What are your thoughts on local and fresh food? Your food philosophy? While working in Roanoke, I was living with my cousin who happened to run a very functioning, full-product farm, which began my love of farm fresh cuisine. From eggs to honey, pork to produce, I got to see it all and slowly understand the process and the passion that go into growing your own sustenance.
How do you maintain relationships with farmers, and why do you think they are important? Networking through the market has not only helped me find the best ingredients, but it’s also let me establish personal relationships with each person I get product from. Eric Simo at Southern Crossroads, Josh Rosh from Southern Indiana MicroGreens, Good Life Farms, and obviously Jim from Freedom Valley are a few of the people I see every week at the market and get product from. Also, keeping with the local drive, I source product throughout Indiana. Fischer Farms and Viking Lamb are a couple of the farms I acquire from in the state. My goal is to have as much as possible, hopefully one day all of the product, being served out of my kitchen coming from within the state. Sourcing from local purveyors helps not only ensure the utmost quality in ingredients, as well as helping the sustainability of the community. How do you apply your philosophy to the concept at C3? At C3, I use all the technique and know-how I have learned working with really great chefs and apply it to very ingredient-driven cuisine. I believe that taking the time to source great ingredients as well as the time and effort put into each ingredient should be highlighted at the forefront of the concept. Sharing with guests why I choose to get one product from one farm and another product from another farm helps the guest understand the ingredient opposed to just eating it.
1505 S. Piazza Drive, Bloomington (812) 287-8027, c3bloomington.com
The Dough Also Rises By Twinkle VanWinkle
There isn’t much I enjoy more than a simple breakfast of warm, crispy slices of homemade bread, lightly browned in the oven. A yeasty, rustic sourdough is best, with its crunchy outside and its airy inside. To get this cozy comfort at home, we need a starter, which is the base for that sour, yeasty taste that really makes a good bread. A starter is a living organism you grow yourself, either in the fridge or on your kitchen counter. Some people have had the same starter for 20 years. A bread starter needs to be fed and cared for, and once it has grown a little, you can use it for sourdough breads, pizza crust, pancakes and more. The process of creating homemade bread starter may seem like a lot of work. It isn’t something you can do in a few hours, or even in a day. Real starters require a little bit of dedication. This labor of love is worth the reward when you finally pull those first loaves out of the oven.
Make a Starter
Feed the Starter
1 cup whole rye or whole wheat flour (I prefer whole wheat)
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cool non-chlorinated water (bottled water)
½ cup water *If your house is warm, add cool water; if your house is cool, add lukewarm water (about 75 degrees F). To store the starter, make sure to use a non-reactive container. I use a quart-sized canning jar with a lid. Glass, ceramic, foodgrade plastic or stainless steel also will work.
A few starter tips »Some experts say that you shouldn’t try to bake bread until your starter is at least a few months old because the longer you feed your starter the more flavorful and sour it becomes. There are long-winded debates on the Internet over this subject. Age is what gives your bread its personality, so to speak. Once you’re past the initial week, set a calendar reminder to feed the stored dough once a week so it stays healthy, pungent and fresh. »You can share your starter. During a feeding, take out some of the remainder you would normally toss and make an extra starter for a friend. »The best flour for your starter is organic whole grain wheat. But you also can use rye and spelt. All these grains have plenty of yeast spores to keep a good starter going.
PhotoS by Twinkle Van Winkle
Day 1: Combine the whole wheat flour and water in your container. Stir thoroughly to ensure that all the flour and water are well-incorporated. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Day 2: You may see a little bubbling on the dough by the next day, but don’t be worried if you don’t. Scoop out about ½ cup and throw it away. Then feed your starter with 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup water. Mix well and cover, letting the starter rest for another 24-hour cycle. Day 3, 4 and 5: You should begin to see some real goings-on by Day 3, as your starter starts to come to life by bubbling and growing. Today, you’ll start adding two feedings a day, once in the morning and once at night. For each feeding, stir up the starter, then remove and save about ½ cup, plus 2 tablespoons. Throw out the rest. Put the ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons back in the jar and feed it with 1 cup flour and ½ cup water, the same amount each time. It’s best to allow 12 hours or so between feedings so the starter can rest. By the end of five or so days, your starter should be ready to use. Even though there are recipes that use overnight starters, you’ll really want to let that baby grow four or five days to get the rich, earthy flavor the starter adds to your bread. Day 6: You are ready to bake. Remove enough starter for your recipe (you will need about 8 ounces for a standard recipe) and transfer the leftovers to a more permanent living space, either the same jar or something similar. Store in the refrigerator and feed once per week, by removing and saving ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (throwing the rest away) and feeding the saved dough with 1 cup flour and ½ cup water. Twinkle VanWinkle is an Indianapolis-based food writer and experienced chef with Southern roots. She has more than 23 years of professional cooking under her apron strings and loves to share her unique perspective on food, foodways and culture with others. Needless to say, her family is very well-fed. Farm Indiana // AUGUST 2016
Jacobi Sales, Inc.
415 Stevens Way, Seymour, IN 47274 (812) 523-5050 550 Earlywood Dr., Franklin, IN 46131 (317) 738-4440