When Matthew and Ann Merritt met ten years ago in Maui, little did the two know that they would one day be wed, much less did they expect to one day relocate to Matt’s hometown of Fort Wayne. This was the meeting of two unique minds and complimentary skill sets that led to the founding of a successful family farm in 2012.
Ann, a Washington State native, began developing a love for gardening at age five. She took a grounds-keeping job at a plant nursery when her family moved to Florida in 2002. Matthew's background as a chef propelled his interest in local food sourcing, and by the time the couple met in Hawaii they had both developed an interest in eventually growing and enjoying food on their own land.
After relocating to Indiana in 2009, Ann and Matthew began to notice a slow but steady improvement in the Fort Wayne farmers market scene. They felt the time was right to find property for their very own year-round, non-GMO, chemical-free produce operation. They launched Atom Acres Family Farm in 2012 (Atom is an acronym for their first names and that of the elder two of their four children - Trace and Oliver).
“It is really encouraging to see the demand for local, chemical-free, and non-GMO food growing in Fort Wayne,” Ann says. “The longer we are here, the more we see young and old wanting to get connected to their food, and how it’s being grown and handled.”
Ann says the benefits of sourcing local food are crystal clear, both from a community and a dietary standpoint.
“One of the biggest benefits of buying from local sources is the rich enzymes and minerals that are still present in the food, because it has not traveled a long distance to reach the consumer,” she explains. “As local grows in popularity, I hope it continues to encourage young people like myself to be a part of the food supply in their community. It is tremendously important to be able to talk to the person growing your produce, to have that firsthand knowledge of what is happening to your food all along its life cycle.”
Located just outside the city limits, Atom Acres currently grows herbs, scallions and leafy greens like spinach and kale during winter months, while summertime crops include a variety of edible and cut flowers, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, strawberries, blackberries, peaches and more.You can order Ann and Matthew’s fresh, locally grown veggies and herbs right here on Market Wagon and get it delivered.