Ag entrepreneur markets plethora of products
Duane Unruh and his family, who live north of Walton, raise beef, poultry, and produce, and like a growing number of U.S. farmers, they market their wares directly to the consumer.
Arguably the family is best known for the eggs that fly off the shelves at Peabody Market, but the family’s full range of products are available for purchase directly from the farm store, online, at several grocery stores in the area, and at farmers markets.
They sell a lot more than eggs. Their inventory includes chicken, turkey, home-raised beef, vegetables, fruit, jellies, and juice.
A new product will hit the sales counter in the spring.
“This year we’ll have asparagus,” Unruh said.
Regular customer Joan Breit drives from North Newton to buy groceries directly from the from the Graze N Layz farm store.
“I like their chicken and I love their eggs,” Breit said as she reached into the cooler Friday to choose the right chicken. “I’ve known him since he was in high school, through 4-H.”
Unruh said he also raised chickens through FFA and while in college.
The chicken coop is a remodeled school bus where the hens can go in and out at will.
“On a typical year, I’ll raise chicks in two sheds, and when they get big enough, they are moved,” Unruh said.
The Bovan chickens are fed mostly on grass. They get chicken feed weekly, but the rest of the time they feed on oats, sudan, and rye the Unruh family grows for them.
The chickens’ food is grown in different areas on the property and Unruh moves the bus about every three days so the hens can forage first one place and then another.
Eggs are gathered daily.
Unruh’s wife, Shelby, handles online marketing and order fulfillment. His parents, Harlin and Doris, help grow crops for chickens.
Doris also makes jellies, jams, and juice, using homegrown rhubarb, sand plums, cherries, and blackberries, and blueberries and peaches that they purchase.