There’s a lot more to farming than I thoughtposted by SPD Communications on June 23, 2015 in Farm Visit Market
“I’m Heather Hill from Hill Farms, a multigenerational farm in Greenfield, Indiana where we raise pigs, corn, soybeans and wheat and we are proud to sell our pork under The Pork Shoppe label”. That quote seems to say it all doesn’t it? Well there is a lot more to the Hill’s farm than just that small statement.
The Hill family farm is located in Hancock County, 30 minutes east of downtown Indianapolis. Contrary to what many people think of when they picture a farm, this farm does not include a small garden with homegrown vegetables or a farmer with a pitchfork in his hand. This full-scale operation has 700 acres of grains including: corn, soybeans and wheat, and is home to 13,000 pigs. Heather’s entire family works to keep this farm in working order. Her mother and father-in-law and her children all assist Heather and her husband with the day to day work and chores.
One aspect that is very unique to the Hill family farm is that they are able to raise their own corn, soybeans and wheat to feed to their pigs. Heather explains, “Pigs are a lot different than cows. Their digestive system is different, they really can’t sustain on a grass based diet. They need that grain based diet of corn and soybean meal”.
The family takes the corn they grew and combines it with the soybeans creating the perfect diet for their pigs.
While grain farming is important to the Hill family, they focus primarily on their motto “the pigs come first”. The pigs are raised in temperature-controlled buildings that Heather’s father-in-law built 30 years ago. The pigs are separated by both size and age to ensure they are receiving the correct amount of feed and are kept at the ideal temperature. Since pigs do not have sweat glands, it is vital to keep them at the correct temperature. In fact, if there is a storm that takes out the power the family has a backup generator for the pigs’ barns instead of their own home!
According to Heather, we are very lucky to be living in Indiana. All of the pork that is sold at grocery stores is very likely to have been Indiana grown. Indiana is home to two meat packing companies, Tyson and Indiana Packers. The farmers send their meat to one of these two plants and from there it is shipped to our local grocery stores. The Hills send 12,070 of their pigs to Tyson and with the remaining pigs they sell them at local farmers markets throughout the year.
Nine years ago, after Heather received her MBA, she got the idea for the Pork Shoppe from a book, “Eat Cake”. Since then, she and her mother-in-law have been running the business together. They tried to make sure the products they are offering are packaged for the typical family: two pork chops to a package and four pork burgers together. All of the products are frozen to ensure quality.
The Pork Shoppe can be found at farmers markets throughout central Indiana and on the Hoosier Harvest Market. This specific aspect of their business goes to their children’s college fund, to prepare their sons to eventually take over the family farm. Their son simply states “I want to make the farm bigger and bigger”.
Take a look at what The Pork Shoppe is bringing to the market this week!