It’s what’s for dinner

In September 2023, Brian and Nola Schultz moved on an idea that had sat on the back burner. The husband and wife, farmers for 32 years on Shelby Electric Cooperative lines, opened Schultz Country Market in Stewardson, the rural community where the two were born and raised.

“We’ve always had cattle and hogs, and we’ve always sold quarters and halves or wholes to people, whatever they wanted, but there were [some] who didn’t need or couldn’t afford that much meat,” says Nola. “We’ve always had this in the back of our minds, but it was never the right time.”

The time finally came, however, when meat wholesaler T & L Locker Service closed a year ago. “It had been there for years,” says Nola. “But hard times [hit].”

The Schultz Country Market fills the gap left behind with the sale of the family’s farm-raised beef, pork and chicken. “People love it because there’s not a place close by where you can get meat that you know where it was raised,” she says. “You know who it’s coming from. You can look down the road at our farm and see it.”

Friends and neighbors were already familiar with their meat products. “Friends would buy a hog from us and help us butcher it,” says Nola. “We always use the same seasoning. … Everybody’s like, ‘That’s Schultz’s sausage.’” For that reason, she and her husband had to find a processor willing to keep using it.

They are surprised by how many people have visited from outside their community in the short amount of time the shop has been open. “We’ve had them from Toledo and Effingham, Shelbyville, Finley … we’ve had a lot of support from people,” says Nola. “It’s been really nice.”

It’s not just meat at the market. The family likes to stock the 16-by-26-foot space with goods from the community and the state whenever possible. Local products available include noodles, breads, jams and jellies from Beachy’s (an Amish wholesaler in Arthur), crafts by local artists, and honey from her brother-in-law’s hive, which Nola says is some of the sweetest she’s ever tasted.

In the spring and summer, they plan to sell more fresh local produce. She adds that the family would like to add walk-in coolers and/or a walk-in freezer at some point to alleviate the number of trips they must make to the processor. “That’s going to take a little commitment and time and money, so [we’re] not quite to that step yet,” she explains. “Eventually, we’d like to add on to the market … but we wanted to start small first — just a little storage shed that we’ve turned into a cute little market.”

According to Nola, who predicts the business will be a lifelong learning experience, the reasons behind launching the long-awaited venture were twofold. “We did this to diversify our farm, but also to become an asset to the community,” she says. “We want a person to [be able to] get some good, quality meat and make a good, healthy meal for their family.”



If you are a small business owner and are interested in being featured in the Support Local section of Illinois Country Living magazine, please submit the form at for consideration. If you have any questions, contact Lisa Cherry at 217-241-7952.

Schultz Country Market
2885 E. 300 North Road, Stewardson
Follow the market on Facebook.