Decades before starting her very own produce farm with her husband Emanuel, Kentucky native Susannah Slabaugh began observing her father operate a hydroponic greenhouse where he grew tomatoes and cucumbers. At the tender age of 9, she was helping to make sure all of dad’s crops had the right balance of water and nutrients, and grew to appreciate each step of the soil-free farming process.
By the time Susannah and Emanuel had chosen to relocate from western Kentucky to the Hoosier state in 2010, her dad decided to retire from his hydroponic tomato and cucumber business, which by then had become a full-time job and had grown to include three greenhouses. She knew the time was right to begin carrying on the family farming tradition, and the couple began dismantling each greenhouse piece by piece and hauling them to southern Indiana.
“A lot of my childhood memories involve working together in the greenhouse as a family,” Susannah recalls. “It was a good life. It seemed like the natural thing for us to do to carry on the family business.”
Now in their sixth growing season, the Slabaughs continue to perfect their hydroponic farming methods, using about one-twentieth of the water traditional produce growers use. This year the couple added a lettuce-growing facility to their operation, which, like their tomatoes and cucumbers, is grown without the use of pesticides or chemical inputs.
“A person can go to the supermarket and find whatever produce they want, shipped in from all over the world - but the problem is you never know how many chemicals you are consuming,” Susannah says. “Our nutrient solution is made up of minerals mined from the earth and dissolved in water. Taking care of our bodies, and growing our produce free of chemicals and pesticides, is important to us.”
We’re proud to offer Susannah and Emanuel’s produce right here on Market Wagon
. Order online and get it delivered.
Although the backstory of Cisse’s Bread Bakery spans the globe, the way the Evansville-based bakery operates today is truly local.
Idrissa Cisse (pronounced like “SEE-say”) is a classically trained baker and a native of Ivory Coast in West Africa. After a stint at bakeries in New York and Colorado, he settled in Evansville and opened his own African boutique store. It was there that he met Evansville native Jeanne Braun. Cisse had accumulated more than two decades of baking experience, and eventually the couple began tossing around the idea of opening their own authentic, European-style bakery.
“After we knew we’d be settling here in Evansville and after Lorenzo’s closed up, we agreed that if baking is what Cisse loved to do and he couldn’t find a place to bake then we’d open our own,” Jeanne says.
Upon officially opening in 2015, Cisse and Jeanne made a commitment to produce only the freshest, made-from-scratch breads and pastries, using locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible.
“The baguettes are really popular, and we have people who come in every couple of days for those,” Jeanne says. “The chocolate croissants have a big following, especially from people who’ve been to Paris or other places around the world and know what really good ones taste like.”
It’s truly a family-operated endeavor. Cisse handles all baking duties while Jeanne helps with ordering and social media presence. So far the couple has earned multiple repeat customers and a reputation as one of the area’s best locally-owned, made-from-scratch bakery operations.
“We had somebody in recently that wanted poppy seeds on top of their pain ordinaire, so Cisse cooked two of them and put poppy seeds on them and it wasn't a big deal,” Jeanne says. “That's not the kind of thing that would happen at a big chain. I think it's important to have that personal interaction and be engaged in your community.”
Browse Cisse’s handmade breads, baguettes, cinnamon rolls, chocolate croissants and more right here
on Market Wagon.
Learning about Sarah and Bobby Cannon’s southern Indiana farm is like getting a cool history lesson. The couple raises breeds that were prevalent before the industrial agriculture boom—old-world breeds like a Black Angus line dating as far back as sixteenth-century Scotland. Their Tamworth hogs are also an old English breed known for their ability to forage and produce a distinct flavor of meat. Then, there are the Delaware meat chickens, which had been commonly raised before the Cornish Cross breed gained in popularity among growers.
In 2013 Sarah and Bobby assumed ownership of Stonewall Farm, which was founded by Bobby’s brother Keith six years prior. While neither of the Cannons grew up on or around farms, the couple was drawn to agriculture by a desire for a profession that would maximize their health and that of their children. They have since devoted their full-time energies toward a 100% confinement-free livestock operation.
The Cannons raise their cattle slowly on lush pasture, at the animals’ natural growing pace. Sarah has found this patience pays off with a meat that yields high vitamin and mineral content. About two months before harvest they supplement the cows’ pasture-based diet with a mixture of corn and flaxseed, which adds fat and mellows the flavor of the meat – all while keeping them on pasture.
“All of our animals take much longer to mature than modern breeds,” Sarah says. “You can taste such abundant flavor in the meat, and that’s the difference that pasture makes,” Sarah says.
Nowadays the Cannons raise their beef, chicken, pork, sheep and lamb on their own land and several additional pastures throughout Posey, Gibson and Greene counties owned by friends and colleagues. All totaled they graze close to 100 acres. It’s truly a local effort, and the Cannons wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Every time we make the decision to support a local farm, we are casting a vote for our health, for the health of the food we eat and for the health of our soil,” Sarah says. “The local food economy is benefited by keeping it local as much as possible. Southern Indiana is a virtual Garden of Eden when it comes to growing food, so why not do it?”
Check out Sarah and Bobby’s pasture-based meat products here on Market Wagon.
Beautiful Edibles Farm, the passion project of Newburgh, Indiana natives Mary and Roger Winstead, is the result of a lot of hard work and a little serendipity.
In 2016, while living in Lake County, Illinois, the Winsteads made a trip to Newburgh en route to Florida, where a potential job opportunity awaited Roger, a landscape architect and Purdue grad. Mary, a long-time gardening hobbyist, had launched Beautiful Edibles in Lake County the year before, partnering with several farming groups in the area to grow produce on two acres for farmers markets and for a pilot program at the local health department.
“Roger’s mother had passed away, and his father, who is turning 85 this year, found himself with two acres in Newburgh that he could no longer maintain,” Mary says. “We had a family discussion while we were there visiting and decided we’d use about half the acreage, and then my father-in-law wouldn’t have to move. Sometimes life gives you an unexpected twist, but we knew it was what we were supposed to do.”
The Winsteads wasted no time building out their fertilizer- and pesticide-free produce farm, which currently spans three-quarters of an acre and teems with tomatoes, leafy greens, mushrooms, berries and an assortment herbs and edible flowers. They decided to carry on the Beautiful Edibles name, and are approaching their second growing season with several projects in the works including a rainwater collection system for low-rainfall months.
“We know the property here has not been sprayed or treated and that it’s clean,” Mary says of the land Roger’s father purchased 65 years ago. “We’re trying to do a bio-intense operation that has healthy soil and healthy plants. We want the farm to be a place where we can live and support ourselves.”
And the couple isn’t stopping at just growing veggies and fruits on their own property – they’ve already helped create a pesticide-free community garden at their church in Newburgh, and have been asked to lead several local educational events on sustainable growing practices and healthy food choices.
“We as a society don’t always give food the relevance and importance that it should get when we feed ourselves,” Mary adds. “Proper food choices are so important and we want to impart that to as many people as we can. We know our farm will come and go, but we want to stress the educational part of it, because that’s so important in the long term for individuals and communities.”
Order up fresh produce direct from Mary and Roger’s farm, delivered to you, right here on Market Wagon.
What do you do after retiring from a 30-year career in the corporate world? For Tim and Kristi Schulz, they bought an orchard. Not just any orchard. Natives of Southwest Indiana remember fondly the name Engelbrecht Orchard. Tim and Kristi are building on nearly a century old legacy in the Engelbrecht name, while bringing fresh ideas for a new generation of local food.
John Engelbrecht planted the first apple trees in this orchard in 1919. Nearly a century later, many of those same trees still bear fruit. But a lot has changed in Evansville in 100 years, and a lot has changed in the fruit business, too. When Tim and Kristi took over the orchard in 2014, they had their work cut out for them.
Many in the community still recall the fresh produce stands that Engelbrecht once hosted. But the fields where they once stood are now housing developments. So, Tim and Kristi needed to find new ways to get the Engelbrecht fruit into customers hands. They quickly looked to ways that they could directly interact with their customers on the orchard, at local farmers markets, and through the MarketWagon.com online farmers market, too.
They also wanted to update the orchard itself. They have worked closely with Purdue University and experts from the state of Michigan in fruit production over the past two years. They have planted over 1,000 new apple trees, sweet cherry trees, and updated their management practices to make the best use of the varieties that were already growing in the century-old orchard.
Today, the Schulz take great pride in teaching their community about the seasonality of tree fruits. For example, rotating through over 30 distinct varieties of peaches on the orchard allows them to offer fresh peaches nearly all summer as different varieties ripen at different times.
Today, John Engelbrecht would be proud of how his orchard still serves Southwest Indiana 100 years later. The public is encouraged to visit the newest orchard site at 16800 Old Petersburg Road in northern Vanderburgh county. But when you can’t make it out, order your fresh-picked apples online at MarketWagon.com
James Gilles represents the fifth generation of Gilles to farm the hilly land west of Owensboro since his ancestors first homesteaded there in the 1800’s. Over more than a century, his family has raised corn, soy beans, and tobacco on their Kentucky farm. But 50 years ago, James’ father brought something new to the farm—Angus cattle—which would set a course for the next generation of Hill View Farm.
At first, the cattle were raised and sold just like every other commodity on the farm. Like most farmers, the fruits of the Gilles’ labor was just another input for someone else in the food chain. Grains go to processors, tobacco went to co-ops, and the Gilles’ angus cattle were sold to butchers who would resell to customers. That all changed when a friend bought a cow direct from Hill View Farm. It was processed at a nearby butcher facility, but the customer knew where his beef had been raised. And right away, the difference in flavor was obvious.
For decades, Hill View Farms had been improving their herd. With each generation of cattle, selecting the right animals for breeding that would make better beef than the one before. Slowly but surely, they built a superior herd of genetics. Not only that, but they did it nature’s way—forage diets on rolling pastures, no added hormones or antibiotics. But few had appreciated it before now.
Soon, one customer turned into many, and Hill View Farms was selling halves and quarters of beef to friends and neighbors all around their community. The meat became so popular, some customers wanted to be able to buy year-round, not waiting until another steer became ready.
It was 2013 when James Gilles returned to Hill View Farms—the fifth generation to do so—and opened Hill View Farms Meats. It was their own brand, their own label, and the ability to sell retail cuts direct to hungry consumers like you and I through markets like MarktWagon.com. As popularity grew, James added pork and chicken, too. All of it raised with the same care for both the animal’s stock as well as diet, environment, and sustainability.
James is a steward of the land that his great, great grandfather once farmed. You play a part in keeping that tradition moving forward every time you order their meats on MarketWagon.com, and share this story with others who appreciate the work that James is doing.
For Jesse Larkins, consumers’ rising interest in local food not only gave him a second chance at farming, it gave him a second chance at life. 15 years ago, Jesse and his wife Jera had given up farming. Although he had farmed all his life, just like his parents before him, Jesse and his wife both now worked full-time jobs off the farm, the kids had graduated college, and retirement was around the corner. His farming days were over, or so he thought.
That was before the triple bypass heart surgery.
At just 59 years old, Jesse’s doctors told him that he had to find a more active lifestyle, or he might not live past 60.
Active? What’s more active than—you guessed it—farming.
Larkins Produce farm was reborn. The idle farmland was put back into productive use. And so was Jesse’s healing body. What they found in the marketplace when they returned to farming was a community of people hungrier than ever to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Poignantly, the recuperating couple purchased an out-of-commission ambulance to transport their food in. The “Produce Ambulance,” as it’s called, is a daily reminder to the Larkins about why they farm.
Local food transforms not only our diets, but also our communities and the people in them. You can support Jesse and Jera at local farmers markets around Evansville, and online at MarketWagon.com. Order peppers, tomatoes, and a beautiful mix of squash, gourds, and pumpkins every fall.
When Karen was a young girl on her dad’s farm, she and her two sisters spend their summers working in the strawberry fields. Her dad, Jim Reimann, had planted several U-Pick patches around the Evansville area. Newburgh residents still remember fondly the U-Pick patch that Jim offered across the street from the Homestead Restaurant. In time, the girls grew up and moved away. And Jim cut back on the U-Pick locations. But Karen stayed close to the farm, and eventually her own kids began to experience the same summer jobs as she once had…
Even though Jim no longer had the various U-Pick locations around the area, he still enjoyed farming. Slowly, he began to expand their farm outside of strawberries, adding other fresh fruits and vegetables. The grandkids, Karen’s kids, were great farm-hands, and allowed Jim to eventually grow the diversity of produce his farm now boasts.
For the past few years, local farmers markets have enjoyed seeing Karen and the kids at their booth teeming with a variety of tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, onions, green beans, melons, and the list goes on.
So, when the online farmers market, MarketWagon.com, launched in Southwest Indiana, the Reimann family farm was among the first vendors to come on board. Each week, customers love to order their fresh produce, and see what’s newly fresh that week, for delivery to the door.
Check out the Reimann’s fresh selection at https://evansville.marketwagon.com/collections/vendors?q=Reimann%27s%20Farm%20Market
Cecil Farms started selling fresh produce direct to consumers in the Tri-State region in 2011. But their farming heritage goes back nearly a century. And, as it is for nearly every farmer, the journey to local food has been a long and winding road.
In the 50's and 60's, Gary Cecil worked on his father's and uncle's farms, growing everything from tobacco to potatoes. Then, in 1974, Gary married Imelda (Warren), a farm-girl herself, and shortly thereafter, they struck out on their own. Today, Gary and Imelda's two children Ryan Cecil and Suzanne Cecil White live on and operate farm land that has been in Imelda's family since 1918.
But it wasn't until 2011, when Suzanne returned to the family farm after 10 years away, that she got the idea to start selling direct to consumers.
Through much of the farm's early years, Gary and his father had raised and sold every kind of commodity the market desired--tobacco, corn, hogs, berries, and more. Eventually, however, the farmers found their niche in specialty crops like potatoes and melons. But their immediate customers weren't people like you and me. They were selling potatoes for potato chips and melons to grocery chains.
All that changed when Suzanne moved back home to join her brother Ryan on the farm. She got the idea to apply their expertise in growing top-quality produce to a CSA ("community supported agriculture") that would bring that crop direct to the people in the Tri-State region.
The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Cecil Farms produce is a staple supplier in Market Wagon's online farmers market. You can find dozens of fresh produce items available on their page: Cecil Farms Produce.
One of the hallmarks of local food is the community that builds around food. Yesterday morning, as dozens of farmers and artisans buzzed about our building, putting the product for customers like you into your tote for delivery, a casual comment from one farmer struck me.
“That’s my pork.” Alan said, pointing to a package of Pancetta. Alan McKamey and his wife Amy raise heritage-breed hogs on their small farm, Heritage Meadows, near Clayton, Indiana.
But the package Alan was pointing to wasn’t “his” package, per se. It was delivered from a different vendor, Turchetti’s Salumeria.
Turchetti’s is an old-world style butcher in Indianapolis. The founder, George Turkette, makes artisan charcuterie, cured meats, broths, and the like.
But Alan, a local farmer, was able to point to another artisan’s work and see his contribution because George Turkette sources his meats locally from Alan’s small farm.
As a kid growing up on an Indiana farm, I never was able to point at a box of frosted flakes and say, “that’s my corn” or bite into a store-bought sausage and say, “that’s my pork.” The industrial food system has had a dehumanizing effect both on farmers and the people that they feed, but it’s not a norm we ought to accept.
That morning, seeing the farmers and artisans buzzing about as they participated in the Market Wagon delivery process, reminded me of why we do what we do here. It’s so farmers like Alan can say, “that’s my food,” and more importantly, so can you.