The Indiana farm family finds niche in products

The Indiana farm family finds niche in products

Taking the less traveled road may be Chuck Mohler’s specialty. The dairy farm boy imagined that his future would not be raising cows, but growing vegetables. He is one of northern India’s most renowned sweet corn growers and a fan favorite among locals looking for high quality vegetables.

Chuck and his wife, Tami, started their vegetable production business, Sweet Corn Charlie’s, in 1986 in Millersburg, Ind. They were not always a large company with popularity and profits. In fact, they tell people that they started out as “beggars” in the first decade after getting Sweet Corn Charlie’s on their feet. But they saw the farm as an opportunity to raise their children and even make a difference by educating others about food.

“Sometimes I see the public have an interruption of agriculture,” Chuck says. “They are not aware of how vulnerable our food system is. We have droughts, violent storms and diseases that are destroying us.”

Chuck recalled his childhood and remembers that his family would rotate crops to build up nitrogen in the soil. He and Tami are now planting cover crops for the same reason. They believe that the soil’s nitrogen leads to better tasting vegetables.

Many people think that agriculture ceases when it gets colder every fall. For Sweet Corn Charlie’s, winter brings just one more cover crop.

Indiana’s four seasons leave a small window for growers, which is why vegetables are not widely grown in Hoosier State. However, Chuck and Tami have their own system.

Do it their way

“I lived in Israel for six months,” Chuck says. “That was where the idea of ​​high tunnels and low tunnels came up so I could get vegetables on the market earlier than anyone else.”

Low tunnels consist of covering crops with plastic and sticking in the edges. Plastic protects crops from wind and frost. Transplantation takes place in high tunnels. Like a greenhouse, tall tunnels are 14 to 30 feet wide.

The mohls grow numerous vegetables, from peppers to cucumbers to tomatoes. Starting crops in tunnels allows for a two-month benefit in early production.

While the tunnels make Sweet Corn Charlie’s stand out, their relationship with customers is their defining hallmark. Chuck and Tami say people like to have a relationship with their food. The Mohlers prioritize transparency on their farm to help the public learn about agriculture.

The couple knows how quickly other vegetable farms die out. They have friends who are going bankrupt. They fear that local products will disappear. But the Mohlers continue to adopt innovative practices and build relationships with the surrounding communities.

“If we did things the same old way, there would be no room for us,” Tami says. “So we knew we had to do something else. We just hope Sweet Corn Charlie’s continues to survive.”

You can find their product tents in Millersburg, where their farm is located every year. They are also in Granger, Warsaw, Syracuse, Dunlap, Middlebury, Goshen and North Webster from June to September. Find more information on their website, sweetcorncharlie.com.

McCoy is a senior in agricultural communication at Purdue University.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *