Photos By Jason Coons/For the Post-Tribune

Leann Landgrebe Pelzel of Valparaiso discusses the process involved in organic farming on her father's farm. She rents 10 acres of the farm to cultivate for Crème de la Crop.




October 16, 2007 Post-Tribune

A Better Sense of Life 
By Amy Lavalley


VALPARAISO -- Bob Doblani made the trek from his Schererville home to Valparaiso on a recent Saturday morning with his 5-year-old daughter and yellow lab in tow.

The trip to Creme de la Crop, Porter County's only community-supported agriculture farm, was a mission to learn more about from where food comes.

"I have an interest in agriculture and just farming in general, and food -- I want to see what local food is," Doblani said. "I think this is great. I like to support local farms. Knowing where your food is from is essential."

Doblani and his daughter, McKenzie, joined about 20 other people for a tour of the farm, led by farm president Leann Landgrebe Pelzel at the behest of the Duneland group of the Sierra Club.

The club, with members in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper and Starke counties, asked for the tour because the farm's organic methods fit in with the Sierra Club's mission, said Dave Ellis, secretary for the local chapter.

He heard about Creme de la Crop from a friend who's a member, checked it out online, then scheduled the tour.

"Sustainable living is a primary focus of the Sierra Club at this time, and organic farms are so much more beneficial for the environment," Ellis said.

While butterflies chased one another on the farm and his daughter held a woolly caterpillar, Doblani said it was important for him to bring McKenzie along for the tour.

"I think this is something all kids should be exposed to; it's just a better sense of life," he said. "If you don't know what you're putting in your body, that's a serious problem."

Marcella Bernat of Hobart heard about the tour from her mom. Though her mom wasn't feeling well and couldn't go along, Bernat came anyway.

"My mother and I love organic food," said Bernat, adding she has her own herb and vegetable garden.

She listened intently as Landgrebe Pelzel talked about plastic mulch to retain moisture and ward off weeds.

"I want to learn new ways of doing my garden as well," Bernat said.

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