Father and son team Jeff and Zach Hawkins raise two acres of vegetables, 20 acres of grain, and a variety of livestock on 60 additional acres of pasture at the J.L. Hawkins Family Farm outside of North Manchester, Indiana. About half of their sales go through a CSA, with the remained going through farmers markets and local restaurants, as well as an on-farm pizza night.
Jeff shares the story of how the farm was started by his grandparents in the mid-1950s, and how he came back and then changed the farm from a hobby farm to farming in earnest in 2003. We also dig into Zach’s return to the farm in 2013, and the accompanying expansion in markets and management that was made to accommodate an additional person on the farm. Jeff and Zach also share how they’ve made the relationships on this small family farm work, including the ways that their respective spouses are and are not involved in the operation.
Zach shares some of the details about how they have integrated the vegetable and livestock operations, including the use of pasture patches to grow some of the vegetable crops. Zach and Jeff share how they plan their way through the diversity of operations, and the decision-making processes they use to do it. We also discuss some of the challenges they’ve faced, including how they overcame regulatory and legislative hurdles to processing their chickens on farm, and how they approach food safety with livestock and vegetables on the same farm.
Perennial support for the Farmer to Farmer Podcast is generously provided by Vermont Compost Company and BCS America.
Pictures, show links, and more at farmertofarmerpodcast.com/episodes/hawkins.