Updated: Jan 29, 2019
Lawrence county resident Jon Hoffman has been a salt of the earth, farming Hoosier all his life. Raised on a farm in Anderson, Indiana Jon kept his love of farming into adulthood. In 1980, he and his budding family settled into Bedford, where they maintain a cattle and crop farm. Although the Hoffmans mainly grow large scale crops, such as corn, soy beans, and hay on their 500 acre farm, Jon wanted something different. At the suggestion of his daughter, he started to raise and sell fall vegetables. The first year of the endeavor, the Hoffmans kept it simple and planted about a half acre of pumpkins to sell at the Bedford Farmer’s Market. But now, almost twenty years later, the family is growing more than 45 varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and squash on a seven-acre plot. The Hoffmans sell produce at both the Bedford and Orange County HomeGrown/Orleans Farmers Markets and at the Lost River Market and Deli in Paoli. Their involvement with Lost River began years before its opening. The Hoffman family, like many other people involved with the cooperative, wanted to help support the local economy and enjoyed getting to work with like-minded people, which is what first drew them to the Lost River community. All of their produce, Hoffman said, is sold within the local community, something the Hoffmans are proud to share. The relationships the Hoffmans have formed through sharing their produce are what make it all worth it. “We have established friendships with several people through our pumpkin sales. We get standing orders from people on a yearly basis. One wants our ‘biggest’ pumpkin, another asks for 100 pumpkins to decorate for Halloween.” Aside from the sale of the gourds, the Hoffmans also donate a truckload of pumpkins to their church’s Harvest Park Celebration each year. They say, “It is nice to know we are putting smiles on children’s faces.” So what’s next for the Hoffmans? Jon said he is preparing for his son Scott to take over the farming operation. He now lives on the farm while his parents maintain a residence nearby.