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Indiana family provides food for local tables

Slideshow: Here’s a close-up look at what it means to market produce directly to consumers.

Tom J. Bechman, Midwest Crops Editor

July 31, 2023

8 Slides

Consumers want locally grown food, and many are willing to pay a premium for it. If you are raising and supplying these products, how different is it from raising commercial corn and soybeans?

Tom Hackman and his wife, Ruth, along with their three children and their families, say it’s a lot different. The Hackmans added a retail produce market on their farm to augment corn, soybeans and cattle in 2012. Today, they also produce, pack, ship and sell wholesale produce, primarily watermelons.

Not every farm has an employee with the title of food safety manager, explains Megan Hackman VanLiew, Tom and Ruth’s oldest daughter, but that is her title. Most farms likely don’t have a retail manager who also is in charge of human resources, but that’s the expertise of Megan’s sister, Jacquelyn Hackman Jasinski. Managing retail markets falls under her management purview too. Their brother, Victor, is a field manager and transportation manager. Jacquelyn’s husband, Klayton, is also a field manager, specializing in chemical applications.

Quality matters

“It’s all about delivering quality produce to consumers,” Jacquelyn says. “We grow most of what we sell in our farm markets and through our Veg2Table subscription operation, but we supplement it with produce from other farms if we need something we don’t grow.

“We work with other local growers when we need other produce. Our emphasis is still on food safety and quality.”

Besides the retail market on the farm, the Hackmans also sell retail at Darlage Custom Meats in Seymour, Ind. For a few years, they operated a market in Salem, Ind., but eventually discontinued it.

“The main reason we gave it up was because it was more difficult to guarantee consumers were always seeing and buying fresh produce there,” Jacquelyn explains. “We relied on employees, and one of us couldn’t be there all the time. Not everyone understands when it’s time to pull a vegetable off the shelf because it’s no longer fresh. We felt it was more important to maintain our reputation for only selling quality produce.”

People at the location they now maintain in Seymour were already familiar with dealing with customers looking for a place to buy locally sourced food. “And they’re family — that doesn’t hurt,” Jacquelyn says. “They think like we do, and they understand quality is a big deal.”

Veggies to your door, via subscription

Megan called her sister Jacquelyn in the middle of the night. “I’ve got it! I’ve finally got it!” she said.

“You’ve got what?” Jacquelyn asked, now awake.

“The name for our new vegetable subscription service. We’ll call it ‘Veg2Table’ … get it?”

Providing locally grown vegetables weekly or biweekly isn’t a new idea, but the name Veg2Table is new. The Hackman family kicked off the new venture in 2022.

“Our goal was 30 subscriptions the first year,” Jacquelyn says. “Dad didn’t think we could reach that goal. We promoted it on social media, and people liked the idea. We cruised past 30 and had 130 subscription customers that year.”

The customer list grew to 175 in 2023, and the family hopes to grow it even more next year. People don’t order what they want. Instead, they get a box of vegetables selected by the Hackmans.

“Working with other local farms who grow things we don’t grow really paid off,” Jacquelyn explains. “We want a variety of produce in each box. Sometimes it might be a vegetable someone hasn’t cooked in a long time. Feedback indicates most people like that. It gets them reacquainted with a vegetable, and they enjoy looking for new recipes.”

You won’t find information on Veg2Table on their website now. “We aren’t adding any more new customers now,” Megan says. “Look for information again as we prepare for 2024.” Visit

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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