Farms, food businesses, gardens and more on this year’s free Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association tours

Published: Wednesday, June 01, 2011, 7:43 AM
By Debbi Snook, The Plain Dealer

Barn doors are swinging open across Ohio, well-greased with environmental ideals.

Forty farms and food businesses, three university research centers and three educational workshops will be part of the largest series of Ohio farm tours by Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, one of the state’s primary organic education and certifying agencies.

Several of the free, public events will be held in Northeast Ohio but the full schedule of the 2011 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series starts Saturday in Pomeroy, southern Ohio, with a look at Snowville Creamery, suppliers of grass-fed cow’s milk to Jeni’s Ice Creams. Tours then move to all parts of the state for environmentally healthy food topics, from produce to meat to dairy to grain. Ohio State University Extension and Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy are co-sponsors of some of the tours.

“The food production system is a mystery for many consumers,” Michelle Gregg-Skinner, education coordinator at OEFFA, said in a media release. “The more consumers know about how their food is grown, the better prepared they are to make informed choices about who to support with their food dollars.”

Some of this year’s tours will look at how to extend the growing season into our cold winters, highlight women farmers, show how to farm with horses, grow without chemicals, raise fish and sell everything you grow.

Northeast Ohio stops include:

• A visit to a government-leased farm in the Cuyahoga Valley, 3 p.m. Saturday, July 9 at Basket of Life Farm, Peninsula.

• Rain and butterfly gardens and native seed production is the topic at Ohio Prairie Nursery in Hiram, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, July 23.

• Geauga Family Farms, a cooperative of Amish families growing a wide range of products, will be profiled at Miller’s Organic Produce in Middlefield, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 26.

• Melon lovers can stop at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2 to look at managing wilt and cucumber beetles.

• Learn about wool processing from 42 states in Wayne County, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11 at Morning Star Fiber, Apple Creek.

• Floyd Davis of Red Basket Farm in Kinsman shows off his sweet corn and season-extending techniques 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21. Move to nearby Miller Livestock Co. (also in Kinsman) from 2-4 p.m. for grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork, chicken and turkeys.

• Marshy Meadows Farm in Windsor, Ashtabula County, reveals its environmentally sound processes for finishing grass-fed calves, 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10.

• Local Roots Market, a Wooster store owned by growers and consumers, and South Market Bistro, a restaurant specializing in serving local food, are on tap 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.

• Experienced farmers can return to Wooster 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 for a conference with veteran growers and university educators on tomato production.

Originally appeared at http://www.cleveland.com/taste/index.ssf/2011/06/travel_the_states_variety_of_s.html