About Stranger’s Hill Organics
Stranger’s Hill Farm is set in the beautiful, rolling hills of Northwestern Monroe County, Indiana. It was founded by Dale and Lee Jones and their infant son Stephen in 1983 as an organic produce farm. In 1989 it was certified organic by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, making it the oldest certified organic farm in Indiana. Because of difficulties with acquiring organic starter plants a greenhouse was added to the operation in 1989. By 1990 enough extra plants were being grown to add them to the inventory of items for sale, and another greenhouse was built. Customers showed a lot of enthusiasm for certified organic plants, especially vegetables, so another greenhouse was built, giving a total of 5,000 square feet of greenhouse growing space.
Initially Stranger’s Hill crops were sold at the very successful Bloomington Farmer’s Market. With the addition of starter plants the business moved into wholesale, while maintaining a presence at the Bloomington Markets. Stranger’s Hill products are now sold at both Whole Foods stores in Indianapolis, one in Carmel, and have just added a fourth and fifth store in Louisville and Lexington Kentucky. There are also several nurseries that sell their organic starter plants.
Right from the beginning Dale and Lee were determined to use organic practices, but when they first started growing there was very little accessible information about just how to do it. That was before the advent of personal computers, and there weren’t any local role models or mentors. That meant a lot of experimentation happened, and the Joneses learned a lot from mistakes! They also built up a library of books that was, at times, helpful.
Successful organic growing requires a working knowledge of the cycles of nature, and a thorough understanding of the environment surrounding the areas where things are grown. The more the farm is in balance with nature the easier it is to be a successful organic farmer. From the beginning there were efforts made to bring the environment into balance. At times that meant losing a crop to insect predators to build a population of beneficial insects. Over the years, as things came more and more into balance, it has become easier to produce plants and vegetables organically.
Organic Certification # OEFFA265
“The best fertilizer is the Farmer’s footsteps in the field.”