JASPER COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - A fish farm in Jasper County is continuing to evolve and provide a unique product to it's customers. You may remember Triple B Tilapia was a featured farm at the 2019 Indiana State Fair.
It was another routine delivery on Monday for Jeff Martin to one of his regulars, Better World Market in West Lafayette.
"They're fish is really good quality," said Elaine Wang, General Manager of the international food market.
They ordered a large shipment from Triple B Tilapia because the Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Traditional steamed fish is a popular dish served on the holiday.
"We tried to get more stuff for my customers to make it more convenient," she said.
The fish dumped into the tanks at Better World Market made the hour-long journey down I-65 from Martin's farm in Demotte.
Not many people would equate fish farm with rural Jasper County.
"The best part of being in northwest Indiana is because we are landlocked," said Martin.
In the grow-out part of the farm, Martin has eight tanks containing about 10,000 gallons of water and hundreds of tilapia in the various stages of growth. Each tank can hold up to 700 fish. Martin said with this quantity, he can bridge the gap with customers.
"By having Midwest farmers now you reach the population that really want it and you reduce the cost for them to be able to get it to their location," he said.
Most Hoosier farmers are packed up and put away for the winter because right now for the off-season. With how cold it can get in the winter time, you wouldn't even know how cold it is outside when you stand inside the fish farm. The temperature of the facility is kept at 80 degrees with 100% humidity all year round.
"They're a tropical fish from Central America and even over in Egypt," said Martin. "They're ideal water temperature is 82 to 84."
His direction for the fish farm has changed over three and a half years of operation.
"We thought at first it was just going to be a nursery-hatchery thing, then it was going to be grow out for food and at this point right now we're really moving into pond stocking," he said.
He still breeds his tilapia to make a hybrid breed that grows to a good size and can handle living in colder temperatures. He said tilapia are a more holistic and natural way for people to control algae in their ponds compared to chemicals. His goal for 2020 is to gain more consistent contracts with people interested in pond stocking.
"Educating people on different ways to farm, to have a healthier life and to take care of our environment in the best way we can," he said.
Martin gives tours of his farm to school groups and people interested in learning more about aqua-farming. Click here to learn more about Triple B Tilapia.