Wednesday, July 1, 2015

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Frey Farms

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Watermelons have been a part of 47-year-old Leonard Frey’s life for as long as he can remember.  As a kid, his parents and five siblings would grow and harvest watermelons and sell them from the back of a pickup truck.  Now, the Freys raise cantaloupes, watermelon, sweet corn, hard winter squash, pumpkins, Autumn Coleur  which is a unique and colorful heirloom variety pumpkin, and several different types of fall ornamentals.   The watermelon varieties they grow are: red seedless, red seeded, yellow meat, and personal seedless.  The Freys rotate with corn, soybeans, wheat, and canola.

Frey Farms have growing locations in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, West Virginia, Illinois, and Indiana.  They began growing in Indiana in 1999 and harvest at their Poseyville, Ind. farm usually takes place anywhere from the 12 to15 of July.  The family has about 250 acres of cantaloupe and 350 acres of watermelons at their Poseyville location.

Leonard explains that they use seeded watermelons as pollinators, then the seeded watermelons are used to make a delicious juice, Tsamma.  “Every bottle of Tsamma is packed with over one pound of fresh watermelon.  It is 95% watermelon juice with a blend of other juices; has no added sugar; no artificial colors or flavors; is rich in vitamins C, B, and A; and is only 80 calories per serving.”

All of the Freys’ produce is available at several local stores including Wal-Mart, Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Whole Foods, and many more.  “We ship directly from the fields to the distribution centers, located minutes from each field, where it is then shipped to the store where customers can find it just as sweet and fresh as the day it was picked.”

Leonard, who has a PhD in Agriculture from the University of Illinois, says that it is hard to pick the one thing that he enjoys most about farming, but did say, “I enjoy seeing the crop grow and taking it from transplant to harvest.  Hearing people say they look for our sticker on produce at the store because they like it ranks at the top of the list.  It means we are doing a good job!”

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