frozen pork, and beef, and fresh eggs
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Meet the Farmer: The Phelps Family
Phelps Family Farm has been with the BRFM for over a decade, but this is the first year that they have been with us for the full season bringing free-range pastured pork, beef, chicken, and eggs to our customers. Joe is the face you see at their booth each Saturday; and with wife Vonda and children Shelby 11, and Little Joe 7, they raise their animals on their farm in Ladoga, Indiana about 40 miles west of Indianapolis.
Being a fourth generation farmer and having farmed all his life, Joe faced some tough decisions when the price for hogs dropped drastically in the mid-90s. They could have quit farming, but decided to try taking their product directly to the public via farmers markets. That was 16 years ago, and they say it has proved to be a blessing. “We have met so many nice people,” says Vonda Phelps, “and it has provided a living (in farming) for our family.”
All of their livestock are outside every day. This makes for a healthier and happier animal the Phelps tell me. Their cattle, which are Holstein steers, get exercise and all the grass they want. This makes for leaner meat. They are not, however, 100% grass fed. “We do give them a little grain that we grow” Vonda explains, “and hay in the winter.” But they use no antibiotics or growth hormones in any of their animals. The hogs are a Yorkshire and Hampshire cross, both breeds being known for good meat. It is a farrow-to-finish operation where the pigs breed, birth, and grow right there on the farm.
The laying hens, which are Golden Comets, are out scratching around eating bugs and grass during the day. They do go into the coops at night to be safe from predators. They are brown hens and so they lay brown eggs which are gathered daily. Twelve years ago, Martha Hoover’s Cafe Patachou began using eggs from the Phelps Farm and continues to have them delivered to her production kitchen fresh daily for her restaurants.
For more information, go to their website here, or stop by to say hello to Joe on Saturday morning and ask him about their meat and eggs.