Fueling a unique farm with propane

For as long as we can remember, farmers markets have been intertwined with the fabric of this country. With a larger emphasis on shopping local in recent years, farmers have become accustomed to setting up shop at nearby outdoor markets, and selling the many delicious foods they’ve grown from their farm. Now during the midst of a global pandemic, Americans rely on farmers more than ever before to find quality, locally sourced, and nutritious fruits and vegetables. And for farmers, there’s one propane company that’s helping fuel what matters to them – Ferrellgas.

For one farmer in particular, Ferrellgas has been his go-to fuel source to power a rather unusual food to grow on a farm.

How one farmer got his start in the business

This National Farmers Market Week, we check in with Jason, a three-year customer of ours who grows, among other things, fresh saltwater shrimp from his farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Rolling Blue Farm has quite the reputation in their neighborhood, thanks to the many pounds of shrimp for sale at the Lexington Farmers Market each week. Jason, a horticulturist by trade, tends to the farm daily, with a special section set out for where the shrimp will grow.

As a first generation farmer, Jason’s greatest teacher has been experience. In high school, he got his start working on a friend’s farm, where in his own words, he “got bit by the bug” of farming. During the time he spent working with his friend’s father, he helped wherever he could, learning more and more every day about what it took to nurture and grow vegetables. Soon after his time there ended, he attended the University of Kentucky to gain an in-depth understanding of the ins and outs of the farming business. Once he graduated, he began working on a horse farm, which now conveniently sits across the street from Jason’s own Rolling Blue Farm.

Using propane to fuel a farm

Propane has the ability to power many things, but perhaps the most common use is providing heat in one form or another. Farms across the country, especially those in areas that have all four seasons, rely on propane to keep things like greenhouses and poultry houses at an ideal temperature. At Rolling Blue Farm, Jason and his small team count on propane from Ferrellgas to help keep their most unique “crop” alive. Rolling Blue Farm has invested in nine pools where shrimp are raised year-round. The key to these pools is keeping them at just the right temperature, especially during colder winter months. When raising shrimp, Jason and his team make sure each pool is around 85 degrees. As he says, “when I open the door, it feels like a sauna in there!”

Raising shrimp wasn’t easy when Jason first started to hone his craft. Within the first two months of production at Rolling Blue Farm, the whole area lost power, leaving tons of equipment and other items for dead. Or so he thought.

Thanks to smart thinking by Jason during his initial setup of the farm, he had a few backup generators that helped save the day. Rolling Blue Farm was without main power for nearly four days, but the generators, powered by Ferrellgas propane, kept the shrimp alive and kept the pools running at their standard temperature.

Celebrating National Farmers Market Week with Rolling Blue Farm

With COVID-19 still on the minds of many, knowing exactly where your food is coming from has taken on an added level of significance. For Jason and Rolling Blue Farm, they feel fortunate that the pandemic has given them the opportunity to help feed their community at a time when they need it the most. The Lexington Farmers Market is open every day of the week, and while booths remain spread out, there are still plenty of customers coming to Jason’s booth. Because the market is held outdoors and provides an open-air environment, customers feel safer attending, which has allowed businesses to continue serving the delicious produce and other items they specialize in.

For Rolling Blue Farm, this time of year represents their peak season. As Jason explains, between April and October, the community enjoys stopping by and saying hello to Jason and his team. Being the only person selling fresh saltwater shrimp at the market might have something to do with that too! Sales for Rolling Blue Farm have been steady during this otherwise difficult time, and there’s even been an uptick in customers in recent months.

In the future, Jason acknowledges farmers markets might continue to see even more shoppers. On top of being a fun activity to do on the weekends, there’s an added emphasis on shopping local. Because many parts of the world are being over-harvested, there could be a shortage of imported goods, especially items like fish and produce. Farming systems like Jason’s don’t rely heavily on outsourced goods in order to make a profit. Jason sees the shrimp he raises as something that might become the norm moving forward. After getting positive feedback and even having regular customers at the Lexington Farmers Market, Jason knows he’s got a good thing going, and that others might emulate his process.

Let Ferrellgas support your agricultural needs

Propane saved Rolling Blue Farm from being without power for nearly four days. It’s a reliable fuel source and one that you won’t have to worry about letting you down. Get in touch with one of our local offices to find out how we can support your farm or business. Choose the propane provider that all the farmers trust the most. Choose Ferrellgas!

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