The Annual Horse Progress Days tour is scheduled for Thursday, June 29, 2023.
Busses will be boarded at the front entrance of the
Michiana Event Center
455 E. Farver Street, Shipshewana, IN
Please arrive by 7:30 a.m. Bus will depart promptly at 7:45 a.m., and return at approximately 5:00 p.m.
To make a reservation, go to
or call 260-768-3300.
(Click each location name to read more)
The Freeman Miller Produce Farm
The pumpkins are still part of the picture along with squash and watermelons to make up the 30 acres in vine crops that are grown here. The flower greenhouse is used to grow hanging baskets, lots of petunias, geraniums and begonias. It was 2014 when the oldest child, a daughter, was 11 years old that production was ramped up, and in 2016 Freeman became a full time produce farmer. He enjoyed the buggy shop, he says, but the profits from the produce and the chance to work side by side with his family lured him away. It’s nice, he said, to be farming in a way that handily pays the bills and pays off the farm. And the family doesn’t see this occupation in which they all have a very vital part, as being tiresome. Far from it. The children even have their own little garden to grow things to take along to the local produce auction where all the rest of the farm’s crops are sold. All the good stuff goes there, only the number two and three stuff is sold at home, out along the road.
The life of this family, whether planting or harvesting, is not monotonous as they work together in the fields; sharing news, reciting poems, singing together and settling the occasional squabble. Even keeping the weeds at bay with their teams of Belgian horses pulling a cultivator seems a privilege. Freeman likens a day of working in the melon patch loading melons, tossing them from the ground up to the wagon bins, to playing ball all day. Moving, throwing, bending and catching, it tires out the muscles, but at the end of the day there is a good feeling, something good has taken place. Throwing baseballs or throwing melons, it takes a good team to win! Peaceful fields, growing crops, the anticipation of harvest, and a reliable outlet for selling, and most of all a family that works together and has fun together. It can work.
Royal Equine stood 23 stallions in 2022. They do take in outside mares, but most of the breeding is done by collecting semen from the stallions and distributing it to mare owners throughout the country. They began as a Belgian breeding business, but now they include standardbreds as well. Freeman’s heart is still with the Belgians which he loves to train and work with in the fields. Expect to see lots of horses on this stop.
Horn of Plenty
Farmers Markets, restaurants and retailers are the wholesale customers, and the on-site store provides some retail income, as well as farmers market stands that the company itself runs at the Goshen and Elkhart Farmers Markets. Their top marketing approach is to provide their customers with a very appealing product. Noah Miller, Horn of Plenty’s tomato grower and lead salesperson, will likely be on hand to greet you when you arrive. He and the five person board of directors are more excited than ever with the opportunities that abound for small family farms.
Lunch Time on the Tour
Amish Country Dairy
One of the special features of this unique dairy effort is the flavored milk they offer; chocolate, strawberry, blueberry, peach and a few other flavors. All of the flavoring is natural and sweetened with cane sugar.
And here is some big news! In the 2022 World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin nestled among the names of winners (many of them great big companies) was a first place win for Amish Country Dairy for their cream top whole milk with coffee and maple syrup, and a third place win for their cream top whole milk with salted caramel! The wholesome nature and refreshing quality of the milk is much appreciated by the 125 or so small retail and gas station outlets offering the milk to their customers. The milk can be found locally of course, and also up into Michigan in the area of Detroit and Dearborn Heights. Pains have been taken to obtain all the necessary state and federal licenses and approvals so that customers can be assured of the quality of the milk they drink. Tour participants will probably get to see some of the middle of the day milking, and maybe there will be some samples of the flavored milk to taste!