Three Farm Summer: Hawkins Family Farm

Bringing in the fresh picked vegetables for the CSA shares at Hawkins Family Farm. 

Hawkins is a diversified family farm a couple miles south and east of North Manchester, Indiana.  The red brick farm house is flanked by the pizza oven, farm store, high tunnel green house, vegetable gardens, pasture and barn.

Most days when I turn off the county road and bump down the gravel lane to the farm store, I look to see if the hen house been rotated and if the sides of the movable green houses are rolled up to let air through, usually there is more than one person to greet with a wave.

Hawkin's has two movable, unheated, high tunnel houses to extend the growing season.  
This spring there are more folks around then in years previous.  When I drive in, it seems there isn't an obvious place to park.  I don't want to block the garage; in front of the pizza oven is already full, so I choose the least obtrusive place in front of the barn, trying to leave enough space for another car, truck or tractor to get through.

The farm store is self serve.  Up until this year, the store shared space in the prep kitchen.  This year the building, which also has a workshop type space, has been extended to create more work area and a little room as a dedicated store.  The store is a refrigerator with eggs, cheese and lard, a chest freezer of poultry, and a second standing freezer of pork and beef, as well as, honey and syrup on a narrow shelf.   Everything but the syrup is a product of the farm.

A view from a section of the garden back to the barn and the cattle.  Row covers are used for frost and insect protection. 

Part of what makes Hawkins an exciting farm, is how many different things are happening all with the intention of rejuvenating the land while producing wholesome food for the community.  Jeff and Zach Hawkins (father and son) are actively trying out new ideas.  I should ask them how they classify their farm - diversified family farm is how I am billing them.

The CSA is integral to the farm.  The Hawkins have been selling CSA (community supported agriculture) shares where a family commits to buying a season worth of vegetables and/or meat.  Each share holder receives a weekly bag of the harvest.  They have a pickup location on the farm, as well as, four neighboring town locations.  They also sell meat, eggs and produce to local restaurants and coffee shops.

Sausage pizza from our very first trip to Hawkin's Farm back in 2011.  

During the summer months, when school is out, the farm hosts Fridays on the Farm.  People come from far but mostly near to buy their locally sourced, brick oven pizza and gather on the lawn of the farm house for a picnic.  The cars park along the lane and often when the weather is nicest, a Sold Out sign will be hung at the end of the drive.

When we first started going to pizza on the farm, we didn't know anyone.  Now we spread our blanket on the grass connecting it to a raft of friends' blankets.  We pass side dishes and ask if anyone remembered to bring a bottle opener.  Fern, who was two years old last summer, insisted on seeing the pigs and turkeys before we gathered our things to head home.  We are looking forward to June 5th when pizza season starts again.

From the end of the first full season I helped on the farm. That's me on the far right.

The past couple of years I have worked on the farm in exchange for a half veggie share.   Early this spring I asked if I could work in exchange for a full share including meat.  We agreed I would work 12 weeks over the summer helping pack shares, working in the garden and making lunch once a week for the farm crew.  I am looking forward to learning more about the day to day operations, see how they use a new walking tractor and how they have expanded from last year.

Hawkins Family Farm is one of the three farms I will be working for the summer 2015.  I will profile the other two farms in the coming blog posts.  To read more about what I am up to here is the introductory post:  Internship Plans: Three Farm Summer


  1. Lovely post and what a neat project! I can't wait to read more about it. :-)

  2. This is awesome, I didn't know you were blogging about your CSAs this summer. This really makes me want to swing out to your way and check all this out in person!