Thursday, June 28, 2012

Eli Creek Farms

I am currently ecstatic.  I have found a local family farm from which I am comfortable purchasing meat, eggs, and vegetables to supplement what I can produce at home.  It all started with a sign at the farmer’s market indicating quail eggs for sale…

Jon and Jim Bob (real name?) from Eli Creek Farms
I approached the man at the stand and asked if he’d sell me some quail.  His reply was that his quail are not yet ready to go to the butcher but that he’d have them at the market in a few months.  I had to clarify that I was asking if he’d sell me live quail because I wanted to raise them for eggs.  His response, “Sure, I’d sell you some quail.   Why don’t you guys come out and see the farm, show the boys around?”   We told him that sounded great.  After taking a couple weeks to arrange it in our schedules, we finally had our long awaited visit to Eli Creek Farm this week.

On the way we were bemoaning the distance (1.5 hrs. driving) and hoping this was worth it.  Our visit was scheduled at 5:30 p.m., so we stopped to buy the boys Happy Meals on the way, which somehow felt completely wrong.  The man from the farmers’ market stand was waiting on the porch for our arrival and was anxious to tell us all about the farm, which has been in the family for generations.  Then, he began taking us around.  First to the rabbits, then to a barn with quail, turkey, pheasants, ducks, and a green house section with flats of young carrots and other produce. After handing us each a fresh carrot to munch on, he began walking us through the fields telling us how much crop has been lost to the drought, allowing us all to pick some goodies to take home and insisting that we taste the sweetest cherry tomatoes available.  Then, he had us all hop in his truck to drive us to other fields, passing hens and roosters roaming in a yard happily along the way.  He showed us where his grass-fed cattle range and where his next batch of hens will be living.  We stopped at various fields along the way, picking samples of beets, turnips, potatoes, herbs, and sugar snap peas, among other things.  He even walked us to his favorite spot by the creek.
We met other family members who worked on the farm with the man we met at the market.  Everyone was proud that they were raising everything chemical-free, steroid-free, and every other kind of naturally.  Of course, this makes extra work, but to this family, it is a way of life worth living.  They sell their goods at farmers’ markets all around the area and are at the Muncie market every Saturday. 

Three and a half hours later, we went home with rabbit and chicken meat, free range quail and chicken eggs, baskets full of produce, some quail feed to get us started, and of course, some baby quail who will start laying us eggs soon.  I know that I can feel comfortable feeding my family food from Eli Creek Farms.

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