April 12th 2012 

“This Place Will Always Remain Farmland”

By: Leann Landgrebe 

Published: April 19th, 2012 – Post Tribune, Porter and Lake County, Indiana

 

My name is Leann Landgrebe and I am a Farmer and owner of Crème de la Crop; the USDA Certified Organic Farm in Valparaiso, Indiana. I’ve always been surrounded by agriculture in one form or another. Landgrebe has the meaning of, “soil digger”, and we have been farming four generations on the property off of HWY US 30 and 250 West. On my mother’s side of the family, agriculture dates back to our ancestors who made it here in the states by way of the Mayflower. Needless to say, farming is flowing in my blood and all of the behavior that goes along with it has become an instinct. But the typical regional row crops, like genetically modified corn or soybean, did not interest me in the slightest. The smells of the chemical fertilizers make me instantly nauseous. Naturally, organic growing was the only fit for me. I always loved growing heirlooms, preserving and eating what I raised and did so on a large scale at my home in my early twenties. My passion for organic agriculture outgrew my backyard and Crème de la Crop was created in 2003. That year a three-acre plot was plowed and a little 14’ x 20’ tent was our quaint farm stand. With the farm being located off of a major highway the media quickly received wind of what was going on, and the first article was published. Instantly the community wanted to support my efforts; the farm was buzzing with intrigue. One of my farm stand customers introduced me to the idea of Community Supported Agriculture. C.S.A. is an alternative economic and social arrangement between farmer and consumer.

 

Through CSA, the community commits to supporting their farmer and preserving sustainable agriculture, and the farmers receive a sense of security in their careers. The community achieves an immense sense of connection to their food source, while the farmers receive support for the quality of life they deserve. Our crops are valued for many different reasons including, nutrition, environment, flavor, preservation, purity, and value. We continue the annual tradition of growing organic for our committed shareholder families. This partnership allows us to continually invest in the operation; and make it more efficient and in turn, we are able to produce more crops. Over the years I have been purchasing specialized equipment, put up a greenhouse… Basically, we started with next to nothing; a few hand tools, rakes, shovels, and borrowed tractors. In 2008 I had no choice but to purchase a tractor of my own; due to the one borrowed from my father suddenly stopped going into reverse. I am very happy to say that this last month that tractor is paid in full and we are moving on to the next investment. It is a huge financial investment to preserve organic agricultural land within a high property tax area, but this is one of the many things that make Crème de la Crop special. As the city builds up around us the community can rest assure that this place will remain farmland. Memberships are available for the 2012 season. For more information: Email: cremedelacrop@msn.com Website: www.cremedelacrop.com

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