“My doctors told me not to lift more than 10 pounds, and that’s probably the way it will be long term,” Bob said. “But I can do tractor work and focus on marketing our products. By this fall, with ongoing treatment, they expect my cancer to be in remission.”
Country Meadows Farm includes about 500 acres of deeded and leased ground. They raise 50 to 70 acres of corn for silage each year. The rest of their land is a mix of mostly cool-season grasses and clover. In addition to dairy cows, they raise beef cattle, chickens, hogs and sheep. They market their products — including grass-finished beef, pasture-raised chicken, pork and eggs, 100% grass-fed lamb and raw honey — through farmer’s markets, food co-ops, online and direct to consumers right off the farm.
“We have one gentleman who comes to the farm nearly every week for two dozen eggs and a pound of bacon,” Debbie said. “A portion of each week’s milk production goes to Tulip Tree Creamery in Indianapolis where it’s used in their award-winning artisan cheeses.”
Changes ahoof in the pasture
Tulip Tree Creamery travels several hundred miles weekly to pick up Country Meadows Farm’s milk because its highly desirable makeup suits their cheeses. The Eashes expect a recent change to regenerative farming practices will further enhance those characteristics. They began implementing regenerative practices after attending the 2019 Soil Health Academy in Roanoke, Indiana.
“Our grazing program is less prescriptive now,” Bob said. “We measure grass height weekly and move cattle to fresh pasture when the grasses tell us it’s time, rather than according to a set schedule.”
“We’re improving our soils, and that’s helping increase plant diversity in our pastures,” Debbie said. “That improved soil health translates to the desirable components in the milk we produce.”
Ultimately, the goal is to begin on-farm processing, perhaps for milk, cheese, ice cream or a combination of the three. Adding a new enterprise could open the door for their oldest son, Bryan, to return to the farm. The Eashes’ oldest daughter, Lauren, already helps out as bookkeeper for their Best Forage seed distribution business.
For now, Bob and Debbie, who met as 4-H competitors at the county fair, say they’re downsizing a bit, yet always looking for additional opportunities to diversify and adapt to the growing demand for the products they raise.
“It used to be, we could hardly sell any eggs,” Debbie said. “Now we can’t keep up with demand. It’s the same story for chicken gizzards. We’re also learning how much our customers enjoy getting out into the countryside and visiting the farm, and we sure enjoy hosting them.”
Learn more about Country Meadows Farm by visiting its website or the Country Meadows Farm Facebook page.