Cassopolis family offers fresh, carefully raised meat, produce

CASSOPOLIS — The produce and animals at Calvin Creek Farms in Cassopolis are nurtured carefully.

Each piece of produce is grown without herbicides or pesticides and every cow, pig and chicken eats non-GMO feed and is given plenty of space to roam. While many farms make this claim, Calvin Creek Farms has one of the few markets where customers can easily investigate this for themselves because its new market building is located a stone’s throw away from where their products are raised.

The crew at Calvin Creek Farms has been working tirelessly to get its new market building up and running. Tomorrow, when the farm opens for the weekend, will be the first time that customers can shop inside the building.

“What we hope that the market building will do is provide a better environment for our customers to come visit,” said Lori Whitmyer, the general manager at Calvin Creek Farms. “Last year, we just had the greenhouse. The market building has a more inviting atmosphere. People can come grab a basket and do their shopping inside the market and flow into the greenhouse if they choose to because they’re attached.”

The market will feature a number of different items on sale such as holistic product, salsas, jarred jams, salad dressing, around 150 eggs that are laid every day and, of course, fresh produce, which will vary based on the season.

The market also has freezers that will come in handy in early June once its farm raised meat is available. At that point in time, it will sell pork, beef, lamb, turkey, duck and other animals — all fed naturally and USDA processed. Customers may buy single meat items or purchase large portions of an animal, such as half a beef or pig.

“Our prices are very competitive with local supermarkets,” Whitemyer said. “The main prices are going to be less. The produce is all organic. There’s not herbicides, no pesticides and really only natural fertilizer — We use chicken manure, so it’s all natural.”

Another upcoming addition to the market will be a garden, which Calvin Creek Farms is currently working to create by relocating plants from the greenhouse to a one to two-acre garden near the market building. Once the project is complete, customers will be able to pick their own fresh vegetables.

Whitmyer says the garden should be finished within the next month.

“It could be a family affair where they can go pick some produce on Sunday,” Whitmyer said.

The market was founded by Dustin Coleman and Brian Nordan, who Whitmyer says hope to expand the 53-acre farm as much as possible, while providing healthy and local food options to surrounding communities. In order to prepare the farm and market for the summer, they and their crew have been working long hours.

“We’re working 10 to 12 hours a day, preparing everything in the greenhouse,” Whitmyer said. “We have seven employees as of right now. We’re looking to expand everything as we grow. From last year to this year, we hope to grow 50 percent. It’s a lot of manpower. It’s a lot of hard labor and work that goes into this.”

Not only do they want to grow, but Whitmyer, the owners and the crew also want their hard work to benefit the community.

“We hope to put in the effort, so consumers can benefit from our hard work and they can enjoy the fresh produce and fresh meat that they know is grown and raised there,” Whitmyer said. “They can see everything on the farm that we grow when they come to visit the market. Everything is right there. It’s not in a different location. They can see how the animals are raised. They can see that everything is clean. Everything is in one, centralized location.”

The farm is located at 68090 Calvin Center Road, Cassopolis. Through the month of April, the market is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and starting in May, it will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

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