By Larry Limpf, The Press, 8-3-15
A tour of sustainable and organic farms in Ohio will make a stop Aug. 7 in Sandusky County.
Turnow Ventures, which began operation in 1980 with 600 acres, will be featured during the 2015 tour and workshop series sponsored by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association.
The farm is located at 2956 County Rd. 92 near the Village of Lindsey. The tour stop will be at the farm from 1-3 p.m.
Steve Turnow began experimenting with growing organic crops in 1998. Within five years, he certified all 1,500 acres of his farm to comply with certification standards set by the National Organic Program.
Presently, 600 acres are dedicated to alfalfa production, which is a vital cog of a value-added supply chain of dehydrated chicken feed pellets – a part of the operation managed by extended family members.
The stop will also feature the farm’s rotation practices for corn, soybeans, wheat and black beans.
Turnow said he decided to try growing organically after he realized there was a market for the crops and he wanted to get away from using pesticides.
“I guess I felt more comfortable farming that way – to produce a fuller feed that didn’t have so much pesticide residual,” he said. “It’s been good up to this year. Without the use of herbicides it’s hard to kill weeds and it’s hard to kill weeds when it’s raining nearly every day.”
Chances are if you eat organic eggs they may come from chickens raised on Turnow’s grains.
“A lot of my products go to feed use,” Turnow said. “Some of it goes to food use. If you wanted to buy an organic corn chip, for example.”
The organic black bean market appears to also be expanding, he said, noting the Chipotle restaurant chain and others have adopted policies to buy from organic growers.
Other nearby stops on the tour, include:
• A hops production workshop Aug. 25 at the Agricultural Incubator Foundation, 13737 Middleton Pike, Bowling Green.
Brad Bergefurd, a horticulture specialist with The Ohio State University, will discuss the latest research on hops planting, including production techniques, insect and disease control methods and harvesting. Marketing strategies that can be adopted by farmers wanting to provide hops for Ohio breweries will also be discussed.
The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• An organic and sustainable agriculture field day Sept. 10 at the foundation. The Organic Food and Farming Education Research program is co-sponsoring the event, which will be from 5-7 p.m.
• A sustainable living farm tour Sept. 19 from 2-4 p.m. at Schooner Farms, 14890 Otsego Pike, Weston, O.
Tour participants will visit Schooner’s classrooms and sundry shop, mound gardens, aquaculture facilities, and a community supported agriculture program pick up, apiary and more.
For information call 419-216-0908 or visit www.schoonerberries.com.
To contact the OEFFA call 614-421-2022.