The Start of a Farm – how a chef, a teacher, a preacher, a manager, and a retiree came together to start a multi-generational family farm.
I suppose it began innocently enough: a few plants on a fenced-in ¼ acre lot gave way to rototillers and trellises, pole beans and indeterminant tomato vines, fresh herbs and leafy greens. It was just the three of us at the time – me, my wife, and a young daughter – living in a Cape Cod on the Northeast side of Columbus. I was still in culinary school and working at a really nice restaurant in the Short North. It was summertime, and we had so much produce growing in our tiny back yard that I was taking extras to work, selling 10 to 12 pounds of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at a time. That’s when we got the itch: what if we scrap this big city life, get out into the country, find a place with some land and really grow some food?
Thinking we were just a couple of crazy kids with a dream, we put the idea to my wife’s parents and grandma, who shocked us beyond words when they replied to our far-fetched scheme: “Sure, we’re in.” So, after about a year and a half of property investigating and researching, we decided to plant our roots in Milford Center, a small community just outside of Marysville. The property had a house big enough for an expanding family and nearly 12 acres of land – more than enough to suit our farming needs.
At this typing, it has been about 6 years since we moved here. There are now eight of us, along with dogs, cats, layer hens, and dairy goats (at one point or another, there have also been meat chickens, pigs, some ducks, and a gigantic French lop-eared bunny rabbit). What once was a full-fledged heirloom produce operation for the farmers’ markets and a CSA program is now farming just for ourselves. We’re living off the land, as much as we have the time and man-power to manage it.
I look forward to sharing with you more stories about our farm, past and present, in the hopes that you, too, will take an interest in how food is raised from the ground up and perhaps even begin to grow a few things for yourself. Just a word of caution: once you let those seeds out of the bag, it’s hard to get them back in.