News
3rd generation of Readers now in produce business

By Lori Overmyer

The crisp Fall air and the gentle dew on the pumpkins contrasts with the fragrance of fresh-picked cantaloupe and sweet corn at Loon Creek Valley Farms in Banquo in the southwest corner of Huntington County. Easy to find just south of 124 on 105, the colorful vegetable stand lures passersby to stop and revel in the bounty.

Behind the beauty of the early fall harvest is a long family tradition. Current owners Katelyn and Ryan Shuttleworth are the third generation of Raders to offer produce in Huntington County.

Katelyn’s grandparents, Albert C. and Ruby Rader, operated Rader’s Market on Etna Avenue in Huntington from 1938 – 1970.

“Over the years, it grew into a fully developed grocery store with a meat counter and even a laundromat,” Katelyn said.

As with family-owned businesses, the entire family was involved. The Rader’s seven children, Dewight, Delight, Larry, Sue, Patty, Nancy, and Wayne all worked in the store. Their involvement helped with the store’s success.

Continuing the family tradition, Ruby’s son Wayne started his own produce stand in 1975 and launched Riverbend Produce at the Forks of the Wabash. Katelyn remembers that she and her siblings contributed in various ways such as selling and caring for the produce and plants. The market closed in 2000.

By 2011 the Shuttleworth family started growing their own produce.

“I didn’t have a lot of experience with crops,” Ryan said, “but my father-in-law Wayne did, so we started planting.”

At first the family set the extra produce on a table in their front yard. In 2013, they added a wagon for the extras. Then, they had to add a porch, and by 2017 they had a fully operational building with electricity and refrigeration.

And they had fields of crops. Ryan has learned to plant so customers continue to have their favorites throughout the season. For example, Loon Creek will have cantaloupes and sweet corn until there is a hard frost.

“It’s a good thing we have the cantaloupes because people from Indianapolis drive to get ours,” Katelyn said.

Ninety percent of their produce is grown on the family farm. Shuttleworth’s only bring in produce they aren’t able to grow.

Their sources are multigenerational farms. Knowing they are working with lifelong farmers is important to them.

With the Loon Creek Valley Farms retail location at their home, Katelyn works with their special needs daughter while supervising her older boys. A camera system in the store allows her to interact with customers via the camera or in person.

The Shuttleworth children and nephews Ethan and Logan Murray, like generations before, contribute to the business. They help harvest the crops and prepare the vegetables for display.

“The farm’s instilling a strong work ethic in the boys,” said Ryan.

Katelyn added, “They are so proud of their accomplishments, and the work they do to help.”

Loon Creek Valley Farms plans to stay open until Halloween. The next opportunity for their produce will be July 2021.

For a list of the farm’s current offerings, visit their Facebook page. Email is answered quickly. That address is looncreekvalleyfarms@gmail.com.

Posted on 2020 Oct 06