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Dutch Valley Growers

Dutch Valley Growers are Looking to the Future
Farm family produces tomatoes and garden seed

Dutch Valley Growers began in 1933 when a group of farmers dedicated to the growing and marketing of onion bulbs and shallots came together in the small community of South Holland, Illinois.

Over the years, Dutch Valley Growers became a family operation for the Paarlbergs, who were the original cooperative organizers. In the 1970s, the family moved to Indiana, expanding the farm for future generations.

Today, James Paarlberg along with sons Ryan, Tyler and Dylan operate Paarlberg Farms, doing business as Dutch Valley Growers in La Crosse, Indiana. Paarlberg and his sons are the third and fourth generations of farmers keeping the Dutch Valley name alive.

“We are lucky to have a richness of soil and favorable growing conditions in Indiana that not everybody has,” Ryan says. “As farmers, we don’t think in the here and now. We think generationally and about legacy when working with our natural resources. Our goal is always for healthy soils and a long-term sustainable environment. It matters to us, and it factors into all our production decisions.”

From a one-room office to a multi-warehouse packaging facility, Dutch Valley Growers has grown tremendously over the last 82 years. The commercial seed line for home gardeners, distributers and commercial farmers has expanded to include garlic and potatoes in addition to onions and shallots.

The family farm also grows corn and soybeans as well as tomatoes for the canned retail market.

Tomatoes are planted in May and June and are harvested between mid-August and mid-October.

All the farm’s tomatoes are grown for Red Gold, where they are processed for the whole, peeled and diced canned tomato market.

“Our focus is on a quality tomato product. To do that, we need healthy soils,” Ryan says. “We are always working to increase the micronutrients and beneficial organisms in our soils.”

The Paarlbergs also monitor plant health throughout the growing season, managing soil bacteria and fungi to minimize disease development.

“We also take a close look at each field to factor in the water-carrying capacity of each soil type to avoid runoff and erosion,” Ryan says. “Our fertility and crop protection decisions are made with the goal of producing the best quality fruit, while also protecting our natural resources.”

The Paarlberg’s live by the motto “Dutch Pride in every bag.” They are dedicated to not only growing the business, but also the fifth generation of Dutch Valley Growers.

“Each year, we are playing a balancing act, with economics and production practices, to determine how much yield we are willing to give up to ensure we produce the highest quality crop possible,” Ryan adds.

For more information, visit the farm’s Facebook page or its website at

http://www.dutchvalleygrowers.com/.

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