Keesling Family Farm - Middletown, Indiana
For 20 years the Keesling's have grown Red Gold Tomatoes. As Kim states, the family tie has been there from the very beginning.
“Red Gold is a wonderful family-oriented company. They know each and every one of the growers. You feel like you’re a great big family with them and all the other families they partner with.”
David grew up on a small farm, but his dad had an entirely different occupation in the automotive industry. So at age 13, he asked if David wanted to farm their land. He did. Before he knew it, it snowballed into quite the hobby.
“Through high school I farmed our land, then also worked for other farmers on the side – in the evenings and on the weekends…and that’s basically how I got started.” - David
David obviously loved farming; he just didn’t see a way to make it work as a career. Yet even as he studied mechanical engineering in college, he rented ground to farm. And even as he followed his father’s footsteps into the automotive industry, he never lost site of his true passion.
Finally he made the move. Leaving his electrical engineering job, he decided to get into farming full-time. With Kim by his side – along with his mom and dad – it sprouted into something they could have never imagined.
Welcome to the Keesling Family Farm
Red Gold growers in Middletown, Indiana – as well as six-time recipients of the Red Gold Master Grower Award for exceptional quality. The mid-80's wasn’t the ideal time to get into farming, but since then the Keesling's have been able to grow the little abandoned plot of land they purchased into a thriving family compound. Today, they’re enjoying true success that they hope will carry on for generations.
David and Kim Keesling established this farm in 1984, just a couple of years after establishing their own family of two daughters – Kaycie and Kara. Three decades later, they’re the happy grandparents of Gavin, Gabby, Miles and Maddox. They proudly grow Red Gold Tomatoes, but more importantly, they’re proudly engrained in the community that surrounds them.
Like Mother, Like Children
Kaycie grew up here from the age of two. She moved away for college, got married, then came back and built a house right across the field – giving her kids the same experience she had growing up. “It’s wonderful raising our kids here. They’re able to go between our house and the farm as they please, go up on the tractors with my dad and ride the Gator back and forth. It’s just a great place to raise kids.” - Kaycie
A lot of people contribute to their community, but the Keeslings are an integral part of theirs.
Kaycie is a registered nurse and her husband works for the sheriff’s department. Kara is a practicing family physician and her husband is an assistant principal. At the same school, Kim has been a bus driver for the past 29 years – first for her kids and now her grandkids.
“There isn’t a better job because the grandkids ride to and from the school with me, then come to my house after school," Kim explains. "They all play together before their parents get home from work. So really, it’s the best kind of life there is.”
Kim and David met in the 5th grade, but didn’t start dating until years later – in the 8th grade. Since then they’ve grown up together, raising Kaycie and Kara and a thriving family farm.
With the entire family still living just a stone’s throw away, Kim feels lucky to have such a tight knit group surrounding her.
“We do a lot of family get-togethers. Usually every Sunday evening we end up here for family dinner. In fact, sometimes the girls will call and say, ‘What’s for supper, mom?’” - Kim
The Keesling's have won six Master Grower Awards from Red Gold over the years – for exceptional quality, professionalism and stewardship.
David is truly honored. But as you can see, there are some other accolades that are a little more important to him.
It’s not often that a daughter gets to work with her father, but for the last eight years Kaycie has done just that. In addition to working at the hospital, she does all of the back end payroll, billing and invoicing. But to David, it’s so much more.
“It’s a unique opportunity to be able to work alongside your daughter: Someone else who understands the farming side of it, the management side, and who you can talk with and bounce ideas off. It makes a big difference. I’m really fortunate that she wanted to join me in the business.” - David