farming

Around 200 elk are home on the range at Dave Flory’s Quiet Harmony Ranch in the rolling Preble County hills.

Antler ag

Around 200 elk are home on the range at Dave Flory’s Quiet Harmony Ranch in the rolling Preble County hills. 

After viewing an informational movie, visitors can drive through the elk park to view the statuesque animals lounging in pastures and paddocks or opt for the 50-minute Outback Encounter, which affords a closer look and commentary. The inquisitive elk often approach fences for a peek at visitors or simply watch from their open shelters.

Visitors to the Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives education building will find energy-saving tips, cooking demonstrations, and free popcorn.

See you at the Review

As the Farm Science Review celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, the state’s premier agricultural education and industry event will both highlight its own history and keep its focus on educating for the future.

Eventually, the electric cooperative tent got so popular that the co-ops decided to pool their money and erect a permanent structure on the grounds in 2008. 

Hamid Ahmed's biodome project occupies a small space at Mezzacello (photo courtesy of Mezzacello).

Future farm

A stroll through this Ohio farm leads you past a lovely formal garden, a koi pond, and two fountains before you reach the medicinal, culinary, and potager gardens.

Ten years ago, the property was an abandoned 1868 Italianate house and two adjacent overgrown lots. After much planning, digging, and planting, Mezzacello now produces high-quality, nutritious food and serves as a learning lab where Bruner and local students test ideas. The name Mezzacello (“little Monticello”) pays homage to another lifelong innovator: Thomas Jefferson, and his agricultural experiments at his iconic Virginia estate.

Cathann Kress with members of OSU CFAES.

Pioneer in ag

Cathann Kress’ introduction to American life and American agriculture didn’t happen until she was well into her teenage years. Before then, her family lived wherever her parents’ Air Force careers took them — mainly the Middle East and Brazil.

Kress took to farm life right away after she moved to Iowa. She enjoyed baling hay and all the chores required for raising hogs, sheep, corn, and soybeans. Like many farm kids, she belonged to 4-H, where she showed sheep and did public speaking. 

In his signature bib overalls and white shirt, Lee Jones slices open an heirloom tomato for customer Mara Ghafari.

Tiny, tasty, healthy

The specialty crops on Lee Jones’ 350-acre farm are myriad: beets, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, tomatillos, honey, potatoes, corn, beans, squash, edible flower blossoms — the list numbers into the hundreds. 

The pandemic, however, completely changed his business model. “We made a lot of lemonade last year trying to swing for base hits,” Jones says. “We had to, because we were desperate to keep the farm going and, most importantly, keep our team safe, fed, and employed.”

Jones says he’s proud to have kept 136 families gainfully employed through the pandemic. His family already lost one farm in the 1980s after a devastating hailstorm finished off what the 1980s American farm crisis had already begun, and so he was determined to make it work. 

He did it in ingenious fashion.

Jennifer Osterholdt

Fresh face

From an early age, Jennifer Osterholdt recognized the importance of farming and agriculture. She lived on a livestock and crop farm and participated in 4-H, where she learned to cook. 

Along the way, Osterholdt realized that there was a lack of both understanding and positive information available about farming and agriculture. So she decided to start a blog dedicated to her life on the farm. 

Eventually, she began sharing recipes, which she says afforded her the opportunity not only to share her love of cooking with the world, but also to offer that positive information about farming and agriculture. 

Roger Rank standing in a cornfield

Poppin' good time!

Roger Rank has grown popcorn on his fields near Van Wert for almost 40 years. For much of that time, the early part of each harvest has had to go to waste in order to comply with some of the regulations and demands of the distributors who bought the crop.

But lately, he’s found a use for those first kernels of the season. Instead of disposing of them, he donates a portion of that crop to various organizations.

Small plants emerge from leaves

Ramping it up

The pursuit of fortune often leads people far from home. Sometimes, however, Lady Luck shows up unannounced literally right in your own backyard.

In 1976, David and Jane Kunkler purchased 40 rural acres in Perry County at a sheriff’s sale, built a home, and moved in. “The land had been uninhabited since 1888,” David Kunkler says. “A family by the name of Elder last lived on it. The husband and wife raised 13 children here.”

Gordon McDonald checks a sap bucket on his brother Gary’s farm near Chardon.

Maple syrup time!

When billowing clouds of steam begin rising from family sugar bush operations that dot the landscape this time of year, you know two things: Winter’s grip is finally beginning to ease a bit, and underneath all that steam is one of the tastiest treats there is.

Poured over pancakes or drizzled over ice cream, there is no better seasonal treat than pure Ohio maple syrup, and Geauga County produces more of the stuff than any other county in the state. The two main reasons: many mature sugar maple trees and many Amish farms — most of which operate a sugar bush.