GALION — The Farmer’s Wife store at Rus-Men Farms has been the go-to place in Crawford County for residents to purchase naturally-raised meats and other natural and gluten-free products for the past five years but on Nov. 22, the store will close.
Mendy Sellman, who owns and operates Rus-Men Farms with her husband, Russ Sellman, and their family, made the difficult decision to close the store about two months ago.
“My daughter, daughter-in-law and I have been running the store and we have decided to take things in a different direction,” said Mendy from her home, next door to the Farmer’s Wife, on Wednesday.
Mendy said customers will still be able to purchase their naturally-raised meats at two locations in Crawford County.
“Phil’s Deli in Galion and Cooper’s Mill in Bucyrus will be carrying a full-line of our meats which will include beef and pork and seasonally, our pasture-raised chicken and turkey,” Sellman said.
She also said customers can order whole, halves and smaller portions of beef and pork.
“They were both very enthusiastic about carrying a full line of our meats. We will work hard to make sure the transition goes smoothly. We will also be offering one eighths of beef and one-quarter of hog. These are smaller portions of our product that are very economical for the customer and a small enough quantity that you don’t need a large freezer,” Mendy said.
Mendy is a proponent of shopping locally and has lived by that rule for her family business.
“When you buy from us, you are supporting a business and family that truly lives out the buy-local philosophy,” Mendy said.
Mendy said Rus-Men Farms strives to do everything within Crawford County.
“Our calves are born in Crawford County, then they are raised until they are about 400 pounds on a farm that is also located in Crawford County and that farm follows our requirements to ensure that the calves meet our naturally raised standards. We also purchase our feed supplement from a local business in the county. Our meat peeps for our pastured poultry are purchased within the county, our feeder pigs when possible are purchased within the county and when not possible, they come from a small farm in Marion County,” Mendy said.
Mendy said the hogs and cattle raised by Rus-Men Farms are butchered within Crawford county and even the bags with the farm’s logo used for customer purchases, are created within the county.
“Our bags with our logo are actually sewn from canvas rolls that our neighbor cuts out and sews, then logos are screen-printed within the county. The honey we sell is from our neighbor, maple syrup is from our county, our eggs just outside of the county,” Mendy said. “You see, as residents of this area it is our responsibility to support our community. A community’s success or failure depends largely on the support of its members, rural and urban alike. When residents don’t support locally owned businesses, a community suffers. When you drive to the next town or the bigger city you are saying you really don’t choose to build your community and instead, you are building someone else’s neighborhood and improving their quality of life, not your own. So we choose Crawford County, we choose our neighbors, we choose the children who are our future,” Mendy said.
Mendy and Russ are the sixth-generation to farm her family’s land in the Iberia Road area of Crawford County.
“We love what we do. Our children are now helping out on the farm and hopefully our grandchildren will join in when they are older,” Mendy said.
Mendy’s last moments at the store on Nov. 22 will be spent providing customers with the turkeys they ordered earlier this season.
“We raised 160 turkeys for our customers this year,” said Mendy.
Mendy has been in talks with a marketing consultant in Chicago in regards to the change in the family’s business mode.
“I have also been talking with two chefs in the Cleveland area who may be interested in using our meat,” Mendy said.
Mendy said she is excited for the future.
“We are not going away, just doing things differently while still being able to offer our variety of naturally-raised meats to our customers. We are excited to start this new chapter,” Mendy said.
For more information, call 419-462-5295 or visit https://www.facebook.com/Rus-Men-Farms-Naturally-Raised-Meats-344044869152/?hc_ref=SEARCH on Facebook or http://rusmenfarms.com.
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras