Rodney Fields’ grandparents owned and operated a big dairy farm in Hendricks County. His parents took over the farm, and then a bad drought in the ’80s put them out of business. The residential housing boom provided an opportunity to sell off most of the farm land, but farming was a way of life they had grown up with and loved.
“We always had a garden and sold vegetables from a roadside farm stand and provided corn for the stands at the State Fair,” Rodney says.
Now, he and his mom and dad (with the help of a part-time crew) are farming 15 acres, growing a little bit of everything — greens, corn, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, peppers, and eggplants to name a few. They sell to restaurants, some home delivery services, and at five farmers markets. “We try to provide a wide variety of produce. We bring a lot of unusual items; for example, lots of heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers and six different types of eggplant.”
The Fields family has been part of the Broad Ripple Farmers Market for about ten years now, providing locally grown produce at their booth. The three of them are keeping very busy with all of their farming endeavors, but I have the feeling they wouldn’t want it any other way. This is how many farm families are carrying on the tradition of living on and from the land and continuing a lifestyle they love.