Farming in Their Free Time

Farming in Their Free Time

Scott Reidle has been farming his entire life.

He grew up on a dairy farm, and continued farming on his own while working for Firestone.  He has been with Mid-States Concrete since July 2012, working in Wet Cast, and still spends a considerable amount of time farming.

“Once you’re a farmer, you’re always a farmer,” he said.

These days, Reidle actively grows on about an acre, plus farms whatever grows in the woods on his property.  Depending on the season, Reidle finds himself with raspberries, apples, cherries, rhubarb, pears, plums, tomatoes, peaches, asparagus, peppers, onions, musk melon, watermelon and more.

Since he chooses not to use chemicals, Reidle spends a good chunk of his free time pulling weeds and picking bugs.

“I don’t like using (chemicals) because I don’t think we need all that in our system,” he said.

Reidle makes sure to grow things he can cook with or make something out of, like applesauce, raspberry jam and pear butter.  He’ll grow just about anything that can be grown in the Midwest, and is known for the “dumping and tasting” method of cooking, experimenting with the things he grows.

With so much land, Reidle grows more than he and his wife of 41 years could ever consume, even when his eight grandchildren visit on the weekends (they help, too!), so he gives away about 99-percent of it.  The neighbors get lots of goods from him, but Reidle also shares it with the elderly and shut-ins and donates to church food pantries.

“I just like doing it,” he said.  “It’s my own time.”

Victoria Davenport, Mid-States Concrete’s Controller, also has some experience farming.  She and her husband have been raising chickens and ducks at their home since March, for farm fresh eggs.

The pair started with six ducks and six chicks, and currently have 48 ducks (12 males and 36 females) and 30 chickens (one rooster and 29 hens).  The two species co-exist just fine, with the ducks nesting under the benches of the chicken coop and the chickens nesting on top inside the coop.

Caring for the chickens and ducks takes some time each day.  Every morning, the couple head out to the coop and gather up all the eggs that have been laid, then they let the birds out into a fenced in area off the coop and feed them some treats.  Once Davenport’s husband gets home for the day, he lets the birds out of the fenced area and they are free to roam all 12 acres of property.  He also gathers any additional eggs that have been laid since the morning and refills all the water bowls.

At night, the birds just naturally gravitate back to the coop and the couple shuts them in at night, providing treats and water again as needed.  The two also wash all the eggs collected with water and a veggie brush, before putting them in cartons, which are labeled with packed on and use by dates, and stored in refrigerators by type.  They also spend a couple hours every weekend cleaning the coop.

Currently, the chickens lay roughly two-and-a-half dozen eggs each day, while the ducks lay between a half dozen and dozen each day.  The Davenports sell their chicken eggs for $2 per dozen and their duck eggs for $4 per dozen.  While they currently sell out of their home, they are in the process of getting their retail sales license to sell at farmers markets.

“We enjoy having them, so it’s not like we’re looking to make a lot of money,” Davenport said.  “Just enough to pay for their care and keep growing.”

The Davenports also regularly donate eggs to local food shelters.  Interested in ordering eggs?  Contact the Davenports at davenportfarmllc@gmail.com.

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