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Friday, May 6, 2016

Local family partners with Red Barn Farms

Friday, January 4, 2013

In the buy local movement that is going on, Red Barn Farms is expanding production as well as bringing one local couple onto its team to help with the progress.

Red Barn Farms, which is owned by the Holton family, will soon welcome another couple, Jared and Anna Odle of Brazil, to oversee the fruit and vegetable production.

"We're good friends and he (Jared) has a background in farming," explained owner Tom Holton. "She's also a vegetarian so they're really big into vegetables."

Jared, originally from Missouri, grew up on a small farm on which his father raised a variety of animals along with produce.

"I'm a hillbilly and I always grew up on small producing farms," Jared said. "We've always had a big garden, it's just something we always did. The opportunity just came up of maybe we could work on this together.

"We've been friends for years and he invited us to come and be a part of what he's doing. This is a good step for our family."

Jared also has a background in small business development, which he believes will help Red Barn Farms move to the next level.

"I worked in West Africa and dealt with some agriculture and some mining," explained Jared. "One of our big issues in Africa that we looked at was sustainable agriculture. I have a lot of connections with folks that have worked in sustainable agriculture, which are the kind of things we're looking into (at Red Barn Farms)."

As more and more information becomes available about where our food comes from, it is important to be informed. The family-run farm, headed by Holton, is 155 aces. The farm itself has been in the Holton family since 1943 and for the last 16 years the family has been raising livestock, as well as their plants, naturally.

Both the Holton and Odle families believe that the most important thing is for people to get to know is where their food really comes from by getting to know the farmer, how things are grown and so on.

"I know we're going to be changing some production habits and things for the better," Holton said. "After last year, everything is getting put in with irrigation. We're really taking this very serious."

After having great success with not only the Red Barn Farms Food Club as well as the fall festival, Holton decided that it was time to try to expand the farm to better serve the communities needs.

"We felt that we were going to see a rise in the food club this past year. Even with the drought last year and not being able to do it as well as we desired we still had really good feedback," Holton said. "I have a feeling we may even double again. There is no way I could satisfy the need by myself. We're really ready to expand and make this into a fairly large small business."

Not only will the produce production grow, but all meat production will as well. The farm has also added sheep so they could offer lamb.

For now, the Holton and Odle families will continue their planning for the upcoming planting.

"What our initial goal for this year is to bring really good produce to the food club side," Jared said. "He's (Tom) has done an exceptional job. Producing animals in a way that is natural is really difficult and he's really good at it. We hope to bring that same kind of quality to the produce side."

Although, the food club members are first priority for Red Barn Farms, as they are a guarantee, the goal is to bring a stable natural food source to the community.

"The sky's the limit," Jared said. "You can get a lot of food out of a few acres when you get into produce. It will probably be at least five times what was produced last year. We'll constantly be keeping fresh greens in front of people, that's one big thing we're going to be doing."

Things that the farm hopes to guarantee will be available at all times are green beans, corn, okra, cabbages, broccoli and more.

The initial plan that has been put together is to cultivate one to two acres this year for produce. The Odle's also plan on using the land more to get more production.

"Lettuce, green onions, spinach, chives, radishes and those kinds of things have a similar growing lengths," Jared noted. "We'll just be rotating beds to get more production out of the same amount of land there will also be some new land under cultivation."

Both the Holtons and Odles guarantee that prices for products will remain competitive. Food club members will most likely have a slight price break, but the general public will see prices similar to those of natural and organic foods found in the grocery store. However, one advantage is the buyer will know exactly where their food came from.

"We will continue just to build step by step to what would be year round production for food," Jared said. "I guess overall the idea we like to have is we want to be a one-stop food source for folks of high quality and all natural."

Red Barn Farms is currently open Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for food purchasing. They soon hope to also be offering delivery to surrounding areas such as Clay County.

The farm is located at located just south west of the Putnam County Hospital, at 4409 S. CR 25 West in Greencastle. For more information visit www.redbarnfamily.com or call 720-8840.

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