GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) - For more than 15 years, Jeremy Weaver has grown sweet corn on his Shelby County farm and lately, he's watched more than his crops grow. So has his business.
"I've seen over the last five or six years the demand for local produce, especially, has increased probably ten-fold."
This year, for the first time, Weaver's sweet corn season will be all year. He's one of several central Indiana farmers providing their crops to a new start-up in Greenfield that will process and provide the local produce to area grocery stores year-round.
"This is the first of its kind in Indiana in several decades," said Nick Carter, Co-founder and President of Husk, LLC. Carter is an entrepreneur who grew up on a farm.
Husk, LLC will take shape inside a warehouse located in a Greenfield industrial park. The company aims to open in July with 15 employees.
"Anybody who has gone to grandma's house and put up sweet corn (knows) you cut it from the ears, you put it in a bag, and you freeze it," said Carter. "We're doing the same thing here just on a large scale."
Husk plans to process about 200,000 pounds this year.
"And that's just to test the market. We know that we can scale way beyond that," said Carter.
He said he got the idea after noticing what he calls a growing need.
"The consumer demand for locally-grown food and local, independent grocers and knowing who you're doing business with -- no longer walking into big box stores -- is not a trend that's going away."
He said their research also showed demand for food that hasn't been genetically-modified. Genetically-modified organisms, also called GMO's, are found in many foods Americans consume. 24-Hour News 8 highlighted the debate in a special report in May.
For Hoosiers, the new venture means a new option at the grocery store. For local farmers like Jeremy Weaver, it's a potential boost for business.
"(It's) helping the little guy so to speak," he said.
Carter said the company will sell the sweet corn at local, independently-owned grocery stores and grow from there.
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