The Nature and Nurture group at Resurrection Lutheran Church just had a fantastic Friday night pizza experience at Hawkins Family Farm in North Manchester, Indiana. The drive out to the farm through the ubiquitous corn and soybean fields of Indiana farm country was made all the better when I realized that there were still many old-fashioned red, hip-roofed barns along the way. Something about seeing those red-sided buildings makes me feel that all is right with the world.
This is their home, and you are made to feel like you just dropped by for a visit. We had twelve people in our group, so we set up our chairs and blankets on the lawn, next to the farmhouse, which is their residence. The old growth shade trees combined with the smells of the farm were calming. The kids lazed in the gigantic hammock while the adults had great discussions and enjoyed adult beverages which we were able to bring in our own coolers. Four varieties of organic pizzas were offered (all delicious!) and the Hawkins family even stuck around with us until well after dark when someone in our group locked their keys in the car.
Jeff Hawkins' grandparents purchased the 99 acre farm in 1957. Jeff, an ordained minister, now runs the farm with his family. Jeff provides an experience for other pastors with a ministry focused on understanding systems and their interactions and inter-dependencies creating a nature-centered venue for clergy renewal at the farm. The farm is also committed to community sustained agriculture, and as such, offers a full harvest share for 2011 which includes a weekly allotment of vegetables plus 20 chickens, a fresh Thanksgiving turkey, a half grass-fed hog, and a quarter grass-finished beef. If you enjoyed reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, then the Hawkins Family Farm is a must-see for you. If you are looking for a unique, nature-friendly Friday night, the Farm is calling you!