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Company profile: Huber family operations.

Bringing "entertainment farming" to Southern Indiana

It's hard to imagine what German settlers named Huber would say if they returned to their old haunt in the knobs of Southern Indiana in Clark County.

Reminded of their native Rhineland when they settled the area in 1843, today they'd marvel at the rows and acres of well-tended fruits and vegetables at not one, but two, farms bearing the Huber name. They'd admire the processing facilities and produce markets offering everything from apples to zucchini. They'd swell with pride that after seven generations, the Huber farming tradition lives on in America.

However, the tradition has been jazzed up a little.

At one location, laughing, squealing children and adults ride hay wagons. Folks file into a home-style restaurant featuring dishes made with fresh-picked ingredients. At the other farm, people sample premium wine, as well as fresh-made cheese, ice cream and bread, and tour wine tasting rooms, the cellar and vineyards.

Large groups converge upon a "country picnic and barnyard bash" building. Some people await a hot-air balloon or helicopter ride, others chip golf balls into a pond. Families take their children to a petting zoo and feed the ducks and fish. In the fall visitors enjoy the Chuckwagon Stampede with its German food and oom-pah-pah, and busloads of screaming youngsters arrive to pick pumpkins, greeted by storytellers dressed as witches, scarecrows or Johnny Appleseed.

This is "entertainment farming," says principal proponent Joe Huber Jr., who since 1968 has masterminded, with the able support of his family, a combination produce market and down-on-the-farm entertainment complex near the community of Starlight. "Joe Huber is a farmer with the soul of an entertainer and the ingenuity of an entrepreneur," reported Business First, a Louisville business newspaper.

Like a movie set featuring Hoosier farming -- which the farm's daylily garden is for a regular 90-second gardening segment on a Louisville television station -- the Joe Huber Family Farm, Orchard & Restaurant is something of a cultural phenomenon. At the same time it's a very successful enterprise. This year it celebrates 25 years of making down-home memories for thousands from the Louisville area and cities throughout the Midwest.

Although the marketing focus has shifted since the Hubers introduced pick-your-own strawberries and green beans 25 years ago, the appeal remains the same: wholesome down-home fun where everyone can unwind, partake of nature's bounty and relive the memory of days gone.

The same kind of nostalgic sojourn, with slightly different ingredients, awaits just down the road under another Huber banner. Though often confused with the Huber Family Farm, the Huber Orchard & Winery is a separate operation, owned and operated by Joe's cousins, Gerald and Carl, and their sons, Ted and Greg, respectively.

"We've been in the orchard business all our lives," says Carl, who points out that their winery, cheese factory, and petting zoo came later. Decisions to diversify were made solely in efforts to turn a profit in the increasingly competitive, unpredictable world of farming, Gerald says.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Joe Huber Family Farm Orchard & Restaurant
Author:Baird, Bob
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:494
Previous Article:City spotlight: Scottsburg.
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