Going Local Website
December 3, 2009
Creme de la Crop is Now USDA Certified Organic
By Victoria Wesseler
Congratulations to Leann Landgrebe Stephens whose farm, Crème de la Crop, is now USDA Certified Organic. I met Leann two years ago and toured her farm in Porter County. The self-taught farmer who left her interior design career to follow her passion for gardening says that she loves the land and takes great pleasure in providing her customers with healthy wholesome food. Always looking ahead, Leann has some very ambitious plans for her operation that include:
A second heated greenhouse that will be built as eco-friendly as possible.
Getting grants for windmills and solar panels.
Putting up a retail facility (the building has been already purchased) where customers will be able to purchase local, natural, and/or organic cheeses, honey, meats, dairy, and other local food items.
Putting together a proposal for a not for profit farm learning center. Some of the plans include offering tours, back to the basics classes, structured age specific gardens where everyone can get their hands into the soil and experience nature first hand.
Planting bamboo for her own usage (primarily for staking plants). (Leann notes, "About 25 years ago some of the bad farming practices on the farm-before I purchased it in 2003-- had created these large wash outs. I will be filling them up with wood mulch from the city and topdressing them with composted mulch. This is where we will be planting our bamboo. By doing this I will be turning implantable land valuable, preventing soil erosion, and turning it into a safe area that I always worry about driving machinery into!")
Planting endangered fruit trees, apples, pears, plums, peaches and cherries (100 trees per year); as well endangered annual fruit and vegetable crops. She will be planting the trees on the grounds that are very steep where it is practically impossible to produce row crops.
Developing an area for growing mushrooms.
One of the many things that impressed me about Leann was her desire to educate her customers about the benefits of healthy eating. Her Good Food Brochure is one example of the publications she provides to customers in her continuing effort to "better people's lives and make a difference in the world by offering them healthy, wholesome food".