Sweet Corn Charlie’s was started by Chuck and Tami Mohler in 1986. Now, some 27 years later, the family has been selected as the Elkhart County Agricultural Society’s Farm Family of the Year for 2013.
“It’s pretty remarkable that we were selected,” Tami Mohler said. “We’re rather excited and it’s a great honor.”
The family will receive the award Tuesday during the Ag Society banquet at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds.
Before the couple was married in 1983, Tami said that Chuck had been a dairy farmer and that during a visit to Israel in 1982 he learned some new farming techniques.
“It made him think outside the box,” she said. “He came back and did vegetable farming.”
With the help of the innovative farming techniques Chuck picked up, the Mohlers are able to raise homegrown fruits and vegetables much earlier than the normal Northern Indiana season, she added.
The family operates nine yellow and white Sweet Corn Charlie’s produce stands in Millersburg, Syracuse, Goshen, Middlebury, Warsaw, Granger, Mishawaka, Dunlap and North Webster. That’s in addition to running the family farm.
“Our goal is to provide the best product we can provide and the best service,” Tami said. “If we do a good job, the rest takes care of itself. We have fresh sweet corn every day. The second most popular (produce) is tomatoes and we grow our own melons.”
Some of the Mohlers’ farming techniques include plant-grafting for tomatoes and watermelons in one of their 10 greenhouses.
“It’s kind of like a surgical ward in a hospital,” Tami said. “We try to keep it as clean as possible. We wear gloves and aprons. We make special cuts on plants. It can be time-consuming, but we enjoy it. All the family works together and we all have our own roles. It takes all of us working together full speed to make it happen.”
Son Dan and son Sammy, along with his wife Katrina, have joined the farming operation.
The slow time for the family comes at the end of October after the sweet corn has all been harvested and the market stands shut down for another season. The stands are cleaned and readied for the next year.
“During the winter time we get to go on vacation and rest up,” Tami said. “It starts up again about February when we grow our own plants and get ready for spring planting.”
If you want to go
The annual Elkhart County Agricultural Society banquet will be held Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $13 and can be ordered by calling 533-0554 or 825-5444.
The Charles Mohler family, owners of Sweet Corn Charlie, will be honored as Farm Family of the Year. Other honorees include Elkhart County Councilman David Hess, the Uncle Elmer Award; Culver Duck in Middlebury, the agri-business award; Eighth Street Mennonite Church in Goshen, the Centennial Church Award; and Rolland and Sandra Eby, the Centennial Farms Award.