Green Field Farms VisitBy: Dennis Chrisman | Vice President of Human Resources, Produce Director
On: July 01, 2014
We were greeted by Aden Yoder, Sarah Ann, and Dave Raber as we parked our car next to the horses. “Those are BIG horses” Angi said as she ran to get a closer look at the ‘Amish tractors.’ I brought Assistant Produce managers Angi Beverly and Kim Kahler to visit our friends at Green Field Farms. Aden coordinates with 42 Amish farmers in Central Ohio to bring great produce to market. Several of the farmers, including Dave Raber, are certified organic growers. Dave and his nine children were excited for our visit to see how they operate the Raber Family Farm. We jumped on the horse driven wagon and away we went to the fields.
The organic kale field was our first stop. Dave told us they started growing organic kale a few years ago for a kale chip manufacturing company in Cleveland, and have just started to plant more in hopes of selling some to DLM. We took a closer look and were impressed on how it looked and smelled . Our next stop was in the melon field where three of Dave’s boys were operating the horse driven planter. As one younger boy led the two huge horses, the others sat on the seats and carefully placed the plants in the ground. We were amazed at how this older horse driven system worked so smoothly. Angi and Kim both eagerly volunteered to jump in and help. The boys started laughing and quickly gave up their seats. Away they went as Aden slowly led the horses and the girls started planting. Quickly covered in mud, they got the rhythm down and were setting the plants perfectly in place.
After the girls finished their last planting, we were treated once again to an Amish lunch at Raymond and Mary Yoder’s. We enjoyed salad, fresh bread, potatoes with Mary’s famous brown butter noodles, canned corn from last year’s harvest, eggs, and fresh coffee. All were prepared on a wood-burning stove to perfection. For dessert, we were given our choice of four different homemade pies: apple, rhubarb, peanut butter, and my favorite, black raspberry. We never leave Mary’s table hungry. We discussed many needs for potential crops and progress for the fast approaching summer. The farmers are hoping to have success with organic corn this summer and we committed DLM to support those efforts. Aden then took us to the warehouse where they test soil samples and mix organic fertilizers to make sure each field has the ideal working mineral base for the crop being produced. Holding tight to Amish family traditions and trying to compete with the mega farms is not an easy task.
We are proud to be associated with such great families and we will never forget how hard our friends work every day to bring DLM the freshest and best local produce Mother Nature has to offer. Thanks again Aden, Dave, Sarah, Mary, and the whole family.