Farm family jumps into heat-and-eat business

Teresa Warner, who owns and operates Sheepdog Farms in West Lafayette with her family, has been doing the farmers market circuit for a while.

You don't spend all that time talking to customers and observing buying habits without learning a few things, Warner said.

Recently, what she'd been hearing from customers is that they don't have time to make meals from scratch. Kids, jobs and social engagements keep them too tied up to spend an hour or more every evening preparing a home cooked meal.

At the same time, Warner said, customers still want to eat good food at home.

"How many of these families end up having to do drive-through even if they don't want to?" Warner said.

Luckily, Warner landed pretty quickly on a solution for her customers that want quality, local food but don't always have time to prepare it.

She recently founded Local Motive Meals, a business that centers on Warner using fresh meats and ingredients from her farm to make home cooked meals, freeze them and deliver them to customer's doorsteps.

"Our tagline is frozen to fabulous in one hour," Warner said, because that's how long it takes to warm up the precooked meals.

Actually cooking the meals at Warner's end, however, can take a lot longer than that.

"Our pulled pork takes me six hours to make," she said.

In addition to a pulled pork entree, Local Motive Meals offers a slab of slow roasted ribs, pork enchiladas, meatloaf, quiche, chicken and broccoli alfredo and other main dishes. Warner also cooks up a variety of sides, like a ham and Swiss mac and cheese, and a rotating roster of soups.

"Our meals also rotate. It's not always the same; like this week I added lasagna," Warner said.

Local Motive Meals has a location in Dayton where all the kitchen magic happens, but Warner said she's not courting foot traffic. While customers are more than welcome in the storefront to purchase meals the business also delivers.

Best of all, Warner said, there is no delivery fee. There is, however, a delivery minimum of three items. The company delivers within Tippecanoe County. Local Motive Meals can also be ordered through Market Wagon, a delivery service out of Indianapolis. Orders can be made over the phone or online at

The price of main course meals ranges from $14.75 to $18.75. So far, Warner added, customers are willing to pay a premium for precooked meals made with local, grass-fed meats.

"If you just don't have the time, well we're trying to fill that niche market," Warner said. "So far, we have received a wonderful response."

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