Clay Bottom Farm
Ben Hartman, co-owner of Clay Bottom Farm and author of The Lean Farm, pictured with wife and farm co-owner Rachel Hershberger
I’ve traveled all over the United States and internationally, and the thing that’s unique about growing in Goshen is how supportive the community is of small farmers.
We’re a tiny farm, but we’re full-time farmers. We’re able to sell virtually all of our food within a mile and a half of our farm. When I tell people this in other places, their jaws drop. Their first reaction is, ‘Where do you live?” They just can’t believe that it’s possible.
We’re not considered a foodie region in northern Indiana — we’re not a San Francisco here or a Madison, Wisconsin — and yet there’s just this really strong base of support that cuts across cultures and across political differences, too.
Farming is a feel-good profession. Every week we deliver food to people who are so grateful for it and appreciate it. It’s a product that goes to good use and makes people feel good.
And I like that there’s always room for improvement. To give a specific example, we’re putting up another greenhouse that’s more suited to heirloom tomatoes. It’s an endlessly fascinating career choice. There’s always something new to grow and a different approach to take that I can’t envision being bored! We put in six fig trees. That should keep us busy for the next ten years.
And we have two children ourselves, 5 and 7, and we work with Teen Growers [an outreach of Church Community Services] in Elkhart, so, in the long term, we have a vision of another generation taking this over someday.
– Ben Hartman, co-owner, Clay Bottom Farm
Follow the farm on social media
You can find the Clay Bottom Farm both at The Goshen Farmers Market.
You can order Ben’s Books from Fables Books.
This summer, we're taking a look at some of the small farms and urban gardens you'll only find in Goshen! More stories to come through September.
Written and edited by Wendy Wilson
Original publish date April 2022
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