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(COURTESY PHOTO)

Dan and Julie Perkins started Perkins’ Good Earth Farm in 2009.

DEMOTTE, Ind. — Established in 2009, Perkins’ Good Earth Farm continues to add new features. The farm just recently completed its first winter season Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share and got its commercial kitchen certified, which paves the way for them to sell grab-and-go soups and salads.

“Our goal is to use what we have in season as well as other local farms,” said Julie Perkins, owner. “I love to cook and I love to cook for people. The kitchen will also be used as an educational tool on how to create healthy meals for our CSA members. We have always made education a priority here and the kitchen is just the next step.”

For those wondering what CSA is: A CSA is a partnership between a farm and a community of members who choose to share the risks and enjoy the rewards of the farm.

Here’s how it works: You purchase a “share” of crops, and the farm provides you with fresh, safe, organically grown produce every week.

Because you’re sharing the risks and rewards, you get to experience the ups and downs of the season just like the farm does. For instance, one season the farm might have a bumper crop of tomatoes but a poor showing of peppers, so you will get plenty of tomatoes and not so many peppers. The next season, carrots may steal the show while baby salad greens do so-so, so you get plenty of carrots and an average amount of salad greens.

Besides the weekly veggies, rewards of being a farm member also include access to pick-your-own items, forage items, the beauty of their prairie/wooded walking trail, a children’s play area, invitations to seasonal farm events, and access to the private CSA Member Facebook group.

Currently, Perkins’ Good Earth Farm has 160 CSA members. Dan and Julie Perkins believe that 200 members will be their max and they could reach that this fall.

“At the beginning, we thought that it would be really cool to do but didn’t know if there would be enough support inner area,” added Julie. “Turns out there is. We know our model isn’t for everyone, but we have a really strong community of people who share recipes and ideas. Our slogan is ‘We provide the veggies you need and love.’ We want our members to also experience the beauty of the farm while they are here.”

When the farm started back in 2009, Dan was working full-time for the Jasper County Soil and Water Conservation District and farming on the side, while also raising a family.

In 2019, Dan stepped away from the conservation district to focus full-time on the farm.

“It was hard to step away from the Soil and Water Conservation District,” said Dan, owner. “I loved the people I worked with and the farmers. I loved helping the farmers improve their farms and protect local water resources.”

However, the move was the right one for Dan and his family. “I would never go back, I enjoy it here so much on the farm,” added Dan. “For our farm communities to be healthy, we need more farmers. The more locally we eat, the more our farms can support. Variety in farms is the best way to go.”

Dan added that the land the farm sits on now, wasn’t best suited for organic farming, but the location was great, and through growing methods, regenerative techniques, and soil-healthy practices the soil is extremely good at this point.

“We have healthy soil that results in great tasting, and healthy veggies,” Dan added. “We have a lot of crop diversity (30 different vegetables) and use intensive, closer growing practices to get the most out of our land. An acre of corn on most farms will yield around six tons of corn. We are producing 16 tons of vegetables per acre. We are always planting and harvesting. It is all about growing the right variety of crops at the right time. We believe we can produce a diverse variety of food for our community year-round with minimal environmental impact.”

Perkins’ Good Earth Farm will be re-opening to the public on April 19 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

The farm is located at 8301 W 1000 N, DeMotte IN 46310, and is planning to have special events throughout the year. For more information check out its Facebook Page or website at https://perkinsgoodearthfarm.com.

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