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Red Hen Farms

New Carlisle, Indiana

 

The Red Hen Story

WHO WE ARE

Red Hen Farms is a diverse, family-owned, agricultural operation that produces grains, seed corn, processing tomatoes and turf grass in the Northern Indiana / Southwest Michigan region. Red Hen’s mission is to employ innovative technology and conscientious processes to deliver high-quality agricultural products and superior customer service. With a local retail presence dating to 1957, the farm has been in business for 50 years, spanning three generations. 

 

THE HISTORY

In 1957, the Keigley and Hetler families of Berrien Springs, Michigan partnered to raise turf grass sod – an innovative crop for the time and area. They named their farm Red Hen Turf Farm, and in 1964, moved the farm to its present location in New Carlisle, Indiana. These families successfully grew the business over the course of more than 25 years.   


When looking to transition out of the business, Ron and Victor Keigley and Harold Hetler approached their neighbors, David and Renee Millar, with an opportunity to buy the turf farm. The existing Millar Farm operation consisted of row crops and hogs. After purchasing the farm in 1983, David and Renee grew the business, adding additional acres and staying abreast of the changing turf market. In 2011, David and Renee transitioned the corporation to their son Gordon, who studied at Purdue University and worked for Farm Credit Association before returning to Red Hen in 2006. He and his wife, Casey, have one son, Rhett. David and Renee continue to serve an advisory role, while Gordon has expanded the business by adding key personnel and diversifying crop production, including seed corn in 2011 and tomatoes in 2013. 

 

TODAY

Red Hen is focused on providing quality products to our customers that are supported by useful knowledge and expertise—our team members are critical to our ability to do this. Red Hen employees have significant autonomy and the ability to heavily influence our operation. We welcome innovation and look to our employees to help ensure we do not get stuck in a rut. We have made investments in facilities and technology to capitalize on proven practices. We believe that our total operation benefits from having a diverse workforce with depth that crosses many functional areas. 

 

THE FUTURE

The future will require us to be mindful of the paradigm shifts in agriculture, while staying true to our mission and our legacy: employing innovative technology and conscientious processes to deliver high-quality agricultural products and superior customer service.  We believe that by taking a progressive approach to technology and machinery, hiring committed people to support our operation, and increasing our crop diversity, we can build on our strong foundation, and write the next chapter of our history. 

 

Phone

(574) 232-6811

 

Office Location

29435 Darden Rd
New Carlisle, IN 46552

Red Hen Farms is located in New Carlisle, St. Joseph County, Indiana, about 5 miles west of the South Bend Regional Airport.   

 

 

HourS (Eastern Time)

M-F 7:30a-4:00p
Sa Closed (Off-Season)
Su Closed

Our Products


TOMATOES

In 2013, we were offered the opportunity to contract with Red Gold, a family-owned operation based in Elwood, Indiana. With several crop years complete, we have learned a lot and are excited to apply our expertise to producing better-quality tomatoes more efficiently. Crop rotation and well drained soils are two critical aspects to our tomato production methodology. We are constantly balancing our available acreage with our rotational needs. 

Some facts about our tomato operation: 

  • We receive plants over a 6 week period in May and June. Our plants come from several green houses, and the acreage of planting each week is pre-determined. We have 7 days to get plants in the ground, making it very important that we are working with soils that are sandy and can allow for quick re-entry after heavy rains.
  • The tomato planter is 30 feet wide. Six workers ride on seats and drop tomato plants into a carousal that drops plants into a trench. We plant 11,000 tomato plants in each acre. Water is also placed in the trench to give the plants a start. 
  • Red Gold typically opens the processing plants in mid-August. All tomatoes are processed- with the highest quality tomato being a whole peeled tomato. Check out the Red Gold website for information and products. We harvest for 50 consecutive days, finishing around the 10th of October.
  • Tomatoes are of the Roma type, with a thick skin and meaty center that allows them to hold up during transport. 
  • We harvest the tomatoes with a machine that takes the entire plant up a conveyor, shakes the vines to release the tomatoes, sends the tomatoes through an electronic optical sorter, and into a semi trailer with a "tub". The trailers are loaded to 23 tons, shipped to the processing facilities located in Geneva, Orestes, and Elwood IN, and processed in 24 hrs. 

 

SEED

We have been a partner of Monsanto since 2011. As with tomatoes, seed corn is a crop that requires careful planning to ensure appropriate rotation. In addition to growing seed corn, we also provide mowing and detasseling services. 

 

SOD

The turf business continues to evolve. At one time, the residential housing was the main market for turf. Today, we produce for commercial developers, roadside projects, athletic fields, big-box retailers and homeowners. 

Turf grass takes over 12 months to reach a mature crop. We seed in the spring and fall, always adjusting acres to meet the needs of customers.  We raise 100% Kentucky Bluegrass and Turf Type Tall Fescue for special uses. We remove very little soil when harvesting- less than ¼ inch of soil at a time. We only raise sod on ground we own, in close proximity to our office.

Visit our sister site, www.RedHenTurf.com for more information about the sod-side of Red Hen Farms, and to learn more about our retail products.

 

 

 

Phone

(574) 232-6811

 

Office Location

29435 Darden Rd
New Carlisle, IN 46552

We are located in New Carlisle, St. Joseph County, Indiana, about 5 miles west of the South Bend Regional Airport.   

 

HourS (Eastern Time)

M-F 7:30a-4:00p
Sa Closed
Su Closed

Working With Other Farms


Red Hen has experience working with other farming operations by providing farmers with the rotation benefits of diversified crops, such as tomatoes and seed corn, without the burden of infrastructure and equipment investment. Partnerships like this can garner high returns, while leaving fields with improved crop fertility for future growing seasons.  We work with each farm differently based on individual needs and requests. 

 

 

 

 

 

Phone

(574) 232-6811

 

Office Location

29435 Darden Rd
New Carlisle, IN 46552

We are located in New Carlisle, St. Joseph County, Indiana, about 5 miles west of the South Bend Regional Airport.   

 

HourS (Eastern Time)

M-F 7:30a-4:00p
Sa Closed
Su Closed

Employment Opportunities with Red Hen Farms

We continue to look for Great People to join our team.  Whether you're looking for a Summer Internship, a part-time driving job, a seasonal position, or full-time employment within the farm operation or the retail side of our business, we are always looking for people with a strong work ethic, forward-thinking, and a willingness to share our focus on quality and service! 

Learn about working at Red Hen Farms by visiting our official Company Careers Page on Jobscore.com - CLICK HERE.

You can also use the Email Form below for more information on openings and to learn more about our hiring process.

 

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