The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has announced its 2011 series of free public tours of some of Ohio’s finest sustainable and organic farms. OEFFA has offered this series for the past 29 years, providing unique opportunities for Ohioans to see, taste, feel, and learn what sustainable food and fiber production is all about from the real experts—the farmers themselves.
Consumers interested in local foods, farmers and market gardeners wanting to learn more and network with other farmers, aspiring and beginning farmers, and anyone interested in learning more about the production and marketing techniques of sustainable farmers in Ohio, are encouraged to attend.
“The food production system is a mystery for many consumers. This series of free tours shows that some farmers are eager to open their doors to share their experiences with other farmers and with the general public,” said Michelle Gregg-Skinner, Organic Education Program Coordinator at OEFFA. “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.”
The 2011 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop series, sponsored by OEFFA, the Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau 30 Mile Meal Project, Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, Innovative Farmers of Ohio, the Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team, and the Tecumseh Land Trust, features 40 farms and food businesses, 3 university research centers, and 3 educational workshops, making this the largest farm tour series in OEFFA’s history. For a complete list of all farm tours, including dates, times, farm descriptions, directions, and maps, go to www.oeffa.org/farmtour/.
“This tour series offers conscientious consumers, established growers, and aspiring producers a unique learning opportunity to see first-hand how the mechanics of sustainable agricultural methods really work,” said Gregg-Skinner. “The series was expanded this year to showcase not just producers, but also handlers and points of sale, helping tour participants better understand the process that brings food from the farm to their dinner table.”
Twenty tours are being sponsored by OEFFA and will be held between June and November. These tours feature: organic dairy farms and artisan cheese production; a canning facility, grain production; a poultry hatchery; farms using season extension; heirloom vegetable and flower production; diversified livestock farmers; farm markets and retail locations; fiber and fabric production; and farmers using a wide range of direct-to-consumer marketing strategies, including farmers’ markets, restaurants, and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).
The tours are:
· Saturday, June 4: Full service sustainable dairy—Snowville Creamery, Pomeroy, Ohio (Meigs Co.)
· Saturday, June 18: Grain production and cleaning, organic vegetables, and season extension—Hirzel Farms, Luckey, Ohio (Wood Co.)
· Thursday, June 30: Family-owned poultry hatchery—Ridgway Hatcheries, LaRue, Ohio (Marion Co.)
· Saturday, July 9: Organic dairy and herdshare—Double J Farm, Hamilton, Ohio (Butler Co.)
· Tuesday, July 12: Heirloom vegetables, buffalo, and season extension—Heritage Lane Farms, Salem, Ohio (Columbiana Co.)
· Tuesday, July 19: Farming with horses—Turner Farm, Cincinnati, Ohio (Hamilton Co.)
· Saturday, July 23: Rain and butterfly gardens and native seed production—Ohio Prairie Nursery, Hiram, Ohio (Portage Co.)
· Saturday, July 30: Women in agriculture—Blue Rock Station, Log Cabin Weaving, and Butternut Farms; Philo, Zanesville, and Glenford, Ohio (Muskingum and Licking Co.)
· Saturday, July 30: Year-round organic farm and market—Trinity Farms Market and Meadow Rise Farm, Bellville, Ohio (Richland Co.)
· Thursday, August 11: Value-added fiber and fabric—Morning Star Fiber, Apple Creek, Ohio (Wayne Co.)
· Saturday, August 20: Farmstead cheese and diversified livestock—Canal Junction Farmstead Cheese, Defiance, Ohio (Paulding Co.)
· Saturday, August 27: Organic pork, grain, and livestock feed mill—Curly Tail Organic Farm, Fredericktown, Ohio (Knox Co.)
· Saturday, September 10: Grass-fed marketing and NRCS EQIP demonstration—Marshy Meadows Farm, Windsor, Ohio (Ashtabula Co.)
· Saturday, September 17: All-in-one organic farm—Mile Creek Farm and CSA, New Lebanon, Ohio (Montgomery Co.)
· Saturday, September 24: Organic family dairy—Pleasantview Farm, Circleville, Ohio (Pickaway Co.)
· Saturday, October 1: Year-round growers’ market—Local Roots Market and South Market Bistro, Wooster, Ohio (Wayne Co.)
· Sunday, October 9: Living off the land—Carriage House Farm, North Bend, Ohio (Hamilton Co.)
In addition, the series features the following workshops sponsored by OEFFA:
· Friday, October 14: Advanced Sustainable Tomato Production—This interactive workshop is designed for experienced growers looking to improve tomato production and management. Cost: $85 OEFFA members, $100 nonmembers. Lunch included.
· Saturday, November 5-Tuesday, November 8: Raising the Salad Bar: Advanced Techniques and Season Extension for the Established Specialty Crop Grower—Geared toward advancing the earning potential of seasoned growers, this multi-day, two-part workshop will equip specialty crop producers with the tools needed to improve efficiency, utilize season extension, engage in sophisticated business planning, and improve growing practices.
Co-sponsored by the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy. The Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau 30 Mile Meal Project, Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, Innovative Farmers of Ohio, the Ohio State University Sustainable Agriculture Team, and the Tecumseh Land Trust are also sponsoring tours as part of this series. For a complete list of all farm tours, including dates, times, farm descriptions, directions, and maps, go to www.oeffa.org/farmtour/.