With machines turned off and crop fields empty, Chris Pawelski is unsure what the future holds.
“I grew up on the farm, I started working on it when I was four years old. I was operating heavy equipment driving trucks loaded with onion on the road when I was 11 years old," says Chris Pawelski, farmer and owner of Pawelski Farms.
Blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into the onion farm in Goshen, for more than 100 years. Four generations later, the farm is closing its doors.
“My great-grandfather came over here with nothing, and he bought, worked, and bought a huge tract of land and was successful," Pawelski said.
Canada is selling cheaper onions to the same market, which is the main reason for the farm’s closure. Pawelski says Canada has unfair trade practices that are putting farms across the country out of business.
“And the price plummeted. And within basically 10 to 14 days, the price went from $28 for a 50-pound bag to maybe $14, and then the price continued to go down," Pawelski said.
Pairing the decreased value of onions with a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt, the farm couldn’t bounce back. Pawelski hopes to eventually get the farm back up and running, but until then, he refuses to give up his passion. He’s starting a small onion business in a backyard garden at his home, the "Ornery Onion Company."
“I have a pretty significant social media presence. Lots of people across the country are constantly asking if they can buy onions from me, so we are going to look to actually do that. We are going to look to establish direct marketing to people, so when people ask, we can ship them onions directly," Pawelski said.