James Showalter was born and raised on a dairy farm in Harrisonburg, in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. His parents had a passion for healthy, simple living which they passed on to their children. James has always been involved in farming of some kind; running equipment, working with animals, and growing and harvesting crops is second nature. Lorretta grew up in similar circumstances with her family dairy farm; fifth in a family of fifteen, with a tomboy streak and a quick mind, she got in on her share of farm work. Milking cows, driving tractors and helping in the fields were her life. Her parents too, had a heart for a more healthy, natural lifestyle and Lorretta grew up familiar with raising their own food. Growing gardens and butchering beef, pork and chicken for their own use. James was 30 and Lorretta 25 when they met at Lorretta’s sisters wedding- they got to know each other as the two families became friends, and married about a year later. Fast forward 8 children, other life experiences, and about fifteen years, to 2000, and they started growing produce and selling it on the farm. Which led to a store being built, and then Farmers Markets, and Buying Clubs. Over the next sixteen years a beef herd was built up, and pigs, sheep and poultry were added to the operation. Now, with all of those eight children adults, and half of them off the farm, raising wholesome, healthy, natural foods remains the vision of Heartland Harvest.
We want to give you the eating experience that connects you locally with your community, your farmer, and the soil.
With our “heart” in the “land” we are working to produce a “harvest” of the best quality foods available. In the pursuit of production models that embrace the preservation of nutrient density, increase of efficiency, protection of the environment, and improvement of animal comfort, we are:
- Utilizing the concept of Rotational Grazing – our livestock is moved to new pasture on a regular basis, ensuring fresh, nutrient dense, bio-diverse vegetation for them to roam and feed on.
- Continually developing new ways to harvest, store and feed non-grazed crops.
- Supplementing livestock feed with natural minerals and vitamins.
- Keeping ponds and forests fenced off.
- Exploring ways of composting to reduce waste run-off into water sources.
- Keeping chemicals, drugs, growth hormones, air and water pollution and adverse animal housing eliminated.
These changes in agricultural practices combine to produce richer, nutrient dense foods that we enjoy eating; it is very gratifying to be able to invite you to share in this experience.
To bridge the gap between producer and consumer and provide the consumer with the opportunity to have a relationship with the soil and the farmer who manages the soil, we are utilizing direct marketing approaches – as we connect and relate directly to you the consumer, we develop new economic initiatives. These ideals of marketing enable us to continue living and working on the farm. As stewards for our Creator, this is where we want to be. We are persuaded that this arrangement is in the best interest of mankind.
Meet James and Lorretta Showalter:
The couple who started the vision of Heartland Harvest and are fully involved with continuing it’s service to the community. James, with his lifelong experience in agriculture and love for interaction with people is indispensable in every area but especially on the marketing side of the business. While Lorretta, gifted with a keen mind and a love for organization and efficiency, is extremely effective in many areas of the business despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1998. God, big trucks, quality food, and metal fabricating are some of James’ passions. Lorretta enjoys reading, a good game of scrabble, and being with her grandchildren.
Second to the youngest of eight siblings Rachel (20) enjoys her work with the Farm Store, inventory, office work, and helping with social media and advertising. She loves playing, singing and listening to music, family and friends, writing, staying up late, telling people what to do and learning.
Stays busy with animal care as well as website and social media upkeep and design. At 18 the talents he brings to the team make him a crucial part of the business. Some things in which you’ll find him involved in his spare time are volleyball, cracking up everyone around him, and debating with friends and relatives.