Known for handcrafted signature ales and pub-inspired dishes, Jackie O’s is taking the meaning of locally produced goods a step further.
The brewery, which is located at 24 W. Union St., started a farm 14 months ago to further expand sustainability.
Quality and the use of locally produced food has been a commitment for Jackie O’s owner Art Oestrike, who said the farm was always something he eventually wanted to start in partnership with the business.
“I thought it was the right time to grow our produce and incorporate our crops into our beer and dishes we serve here,” Oestrike said. “I wanted to know where my ingredients were coming from, and by using produce from our farm, the fresh ingredients will reflect in our dishes.”
Jackie O’s hired an additional chef to create dishes surrounding the locally grown produce.
Because it’s only the second growing season, the restaurant is still testing which crops grow best and which to use in the restaurant and brewery.
Melissa Christen, an agricultural expert and grower at the farm, said plants such as fruit and nut trees have to mature before there is a crop worthy of selling or incorporating into the menu.
“As of right now we are harvesting the cold crops that include broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, as well as hearty greens like spinach and kale,” she said. “I have planted them in six sessions so there will be a constant availability of produce we can use at Jackie O’s and sell at the market instead of relying on other farmers.”
Jackie O’s currently grows raspberries, lemon verbena and mint that are added during the brew process to give ales subtle hints of flavor.
“We just got approved to design a high tunnel, which is an unheated plastic structure that will help us extend our growing season without the cost of a greenhouse,” Oestrike said. “I’m excited to announce that we will have bees coming on May 14th that will allow us to decrease the amount of herbicides used.”
In partnership with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Jackie O’s Farm will provide a tour and potluck on Sunday to increase awareness about sustainability among farmers, educators and conscientious eaters.
“I want to convey the work that goes into planting produce in such a fluctuating climate while still growing a large amount of crops,” Christen said. “This farm is unique in the reason that unlike most farmers who have to find a business to sell to, we already have Jackie O’s.”