The Editor of Backyard Poultry recently contacted me asking for permission to rerun an article that was written just a few years ago. Sometimes when you are caught up with the daily tasks you forget to step back and realize what has been accomplished. In reading the older article she sent me, I realized how much had changed. I was graciously asked to write a new article for print in the next Backyrad Poultry Magazine. I thought it would be neat to show you both versions, the old and new, so that you to can know we are making strides in bringing you the best options for your farm, family, or customer. This includes being one of the only certified organic, multi species, and now FEDERALLY INSPECTED processing facility in the United States.
A young farm family near Darlington, Indiana is leading the way in creating a new model for small, sustainable farms that sell healthy, fresh foods and locally processed meat and poultry to Indiana consumers and also return a livable wage to the farm family.
Erick and Jessica Smith, owners and operators of an 88-acre farm named This Old Farm, Inc. specialize in meat and poultry raised on grass the way these animals used to be. The farm also offers a CSA vegetable and fruit share, as well as goat and cow shares. Erick and Jessica Smith, parents of five young children, have won an impressive string of awards.
USDA Value Added Producer Grant – funding for planning and a feasibility study on how best to implement their ideas.
Purdue University’s Center for Entrepreneurship – Environmental I2P award for best new and marketable idea and business plan.
USDA Small Business and Innovation Grant – funding for a pilot on-farm poultry processing plant utilizing alternative energy resources, which will be completed in August.
The idea behind This Old Farm is to provide good clean, food products directly to individuals from their farm, at the farmers market in West Lafayette, through deliveries and through their website (www.thisoldfarminc.com). They are creating a facility suitable for use by local farmers to process farm animals and vegetables that would then be sold to individuals, restaurants and caterers.
Erick Smith explained that before meats and vegetables reach people’s tables, they have to be processed. With the current large-scale farming system just four major processors handle 80% of the beef in the country, he said. “Small farms run into a barrier” Smith said, when they try to get their products to the consumer. “They have to go to a licensed facility. This is a huge gap in the food system.” The Smiths are working to build a licensed multi-use facility that can process meat and vegetables from their own and other small farms. The facility will be located on the Smith’s organic farm, which is in Montgomery County. The Smiths want their idea to serve as a catalyst to bring similar facilities to other areas across Indiana and the country. “It’s all about local,” Erick Smith said.
For further information and ordering, or to speak directly with the farm family, contact Jessica Smith, (765) 436-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colfax, IN was once known for a famous small town restaurant called Miller’s. The town of now, 691 people would draw lines of folks on Friday and Saturday for the best fried catfish around. Now the small town of Colfax is known for a unique business that rebound after a tragic fire happened just one year after opening its expanded doors.
This Old Farm Meats and Processing opened in November of 2009 to respond to a growing demand for backyard growers and family farmers to have access to processing options. The Smith’s had run an 88 acre family farm growing 100% grass fed lamb, pastured pork, and poultry for 10 years. They saw a need for their own operation and the operations of other family farms to be able to process poultry and pork without the use of preservatives, MSG, and salt nitrates and nitrites. After years of research and planning, the purchase of an existing processing facility, while built in 1978, brought great possibility to the farming community.
On December 27, 2010 a quick spreading fire burned the 1978 facility to the ground. This story is not unfamiliar in the processing industry. Each year 3-5 % of these community processing centers shut down after fire or other tragedy resulting in many farmers having to travel 400 miles to the nearest processor. Due to the support of the community and customers This Old Farm, Inc was able to triumph over tragedy and reopened their doors in June of 2011. Erick and Jessica Smith now run a very unique food hub that services homesteaders and family farms as well as wholesale and retail customers looking for a sustainably grown meat product.
This Old Farm Meats and Processing is one of the few Certified Organic, Multi Species (beef, pork, lamb, goat, and poultry) now Federally Inspected Meat Processing Facilities in the Country. It all started with a passion for the land and a desire to have options for backyard poultry growers. They now help producers each and every day have an option for not only where to process their meat but how to make money raising livestock.
The small town of Colfax, IN once drew crowds from all over for fried food, now it draws crowds for those looking for nutrient dense, responsibly farmed food products. What better reason to draw a crowd than supporting one’s health. Change is good.
Please visit www.thisoldfarminc.com for more information.
Written by Jessica Smith