The Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series


Do you want to take a leisurely stroll through organic fields and pastures and visit with farm animals? Learn about sustainable beekeeping, biochar, profitable poultry production, raising high quality grass-fed beef, or improving your forages? Take a farm stand with an organic farmer threatened by pipeline development?

You'll have opportunities to do all this and more during OEFFA's 21 summer farm tours and workshops, which are part of the 2016 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series.

In total, the series features 32 farm tours and 10 educational workshops, offered in partnership with The Ohio State University Extension Sustainable Agriculture Team, Advancing Eco Agriculture, Ashtabula Local Food Council, Columbus Agrarian Society, and Our Harvest Research and Education Institute.

Download a pdf of the full series brochure.

See, taste, and experience life on the farm while gaining practical new skills and learning about sustainable agriculture and local foods on the farm from growers and producers with years of practical experience.

All tours and workshops are free and open to the public and do not require pre-registration unless otherwise noted.
Events will take place rain or shine. Guests should dress appropriately; hats, sunglasses, long pants, closed toe walking shoes, and sunscreen are recommended. Tours involve standing and moderate walking; visitors with physical limitations or other concerns should contact the tour host in advance. For everyone’s safety, guests should keep children with them at all times. Please do not bring pets to the tours.


Take an Organic Farm Stand Tour
Tuesday, June 7—2 p.m.
Bluebird Farm
86663 Fife Rd., Cadiz, OH 43907

Registration: Pre-registration is encouraged. To register, contact Eric Pawlowski at (614) 421-2022 or eric@oeffa.org by June 3.
Stand in solidarity with one of OEFFA's founding members and organic farming pioneer Mick Luber of Bluebird Farm. Bluebird Farm produces fresh, organic vegetables, apples, and wild crops, including ramps, berries, and mushrooms, on about 65 acres, serving markets in Wheeling, WV and Pittsburgh, PA. The Utopia pipeline, which would carry ethylene and propane to plastics manufacturing plants in Canada, is threatening to cross Bluebird Farm and could negatively impact the rich, organic soils Mick has worked so hard to foster for 36 years. As part of a National Day of Action on Fracking, join OEFFA and Mick to oppose this pipeline and learn about all Bluebird Farm does to produce quality organic food for the communities it serves.

Pasture-Raised, Rotationally Grazed Livestock Farm Tour

Saturday, June 252 p.m.
Pastured Providence Farmstead
3316 Chapel Creek Rd., Chillicothe, OH 45601

Registration: To register, email paul@pasturedprovidence.com by June 18.
Paul Dorrance and his wife, Heather, started Pastured Providence Farmstead, a small, sustainable, diversified, pasture-based farm, in 2014. They strive to “partner with creation to produce healthy food” by raising livestock without any growth hormones, antibiotics, or chemicals. The farm's cows and sheep are 100 percent grass-fed and finished, and the pigs, chickens, and turkeys get a daily helping of grass and hay and a non-genetically modified feed, sourced from a local farmer. Pastured Providence Farmstead focuses on producing healthy food for south-central Ohio using heritage breed stock, including Red Poll cattle, St. Croix sheep, Large Black hogs, Narragansett turkeys, and Buckeye laying hens. Paul and Heather will share their values, methods, and lessons learned to both educate and encourage others who want to produce food in an ethical, humane, ecologically sound manner.

Historic Farm Tour and Biochar Workshop

Saturday, July 910 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (workshop), 12:30-1:30 p.m. (tour)
Gorman Heritage Farm
10052 Reading Rd., Evendale, OH 45241
Cost and Registration: The farm tour is free and open to the public, but space is limited to 40 people. Pre-registration is required. To register, email kgetz@gormanfarm.org by July 1.The biochar workshop costs $15. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited to 40 people. To register, click here.

Gorman Heritage Farm is a 122 acre working farm and outdoor education center. The farm, purchased in 1835 by Edward Brown, was passed through the Brown family and eventually, through marriage, to the Gormans. In 1943, siblings Jim and Dorothy Gorman took over the property and continued to farm the land, inviting neighbors, particularly children, to learn about food and farming. Today, Gorman Heritage Farm continues that good work. This farm tour will explore the historic property, including the three original buildings: the Farmhouse, Spring House, and Bank Barn. Visit the gardens, explore the farmyard, and meet the farm’s friendly animals. Before the tour, a biochar workshop will cover the history, production methods, and benefits of biochar in sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable Beekeeping Farm Tour and Workshop

Saturday, July 910 a.m.-12 p.m. (tour), 12:30-2:30 p.m. (workshop)
Stratford Ecological Center
3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43085
Cost and Registration: The farm tour is free and open to the public. The cost of the workshop is $10. Workshop pre-registration is required. To register, click here or call (740) 363-2548.

Join Stratford Ecological Center apiarist Dave Noble for a discussion of the challenges and benefits of incorporating bees, beekeeping, and apiculture into a sustainable, organic farming system. Gain an overview of the issues related to establishing an apiary, or just a few hives, from Colony Collapse Disorder and varroa mites to Africanized bees and chemical-free hive management. After the tour, stay for a workshop for a more in-depth look at the hives. Dave will take guests out to open up the hives and meet the bees themselves. Bring your own lunch to enjoy while exploring what it takes to become a successful beekeeper and discussing the many hive products that can be harvested, marketed, and sold.

Quality Forage for Dairy Operations Farm Tour

Friday, July 1510 a.m.
Heckman Family Dairy
9276 State Rte. 705, Yorkshire, OH 45388
Registration: Pre-registration is encouraged. To register, email rose.smith@organicvalley.coop.

Thomas and Jamie Heckman are fifth generation dairy farmers. Together with Thomas’ parents, Bill and Mary Beth, the family maintains 80 cows year-round and raise replacements, which are rotationally grazed on the farm’s 340 certified organic acres. To be self-sufficient, they grow all their own feed, raising corn, corn silage, hay, triticale, timothy, forage sorghum, oats, and soybeans. Hear how Thomas and Jamie produce quality forages and manage their herd. This tour will feature rotational paddocks and information on expansion opportunities for organic producers. Organic Valley staff veterinarian Dr. Guy Jodarski will also discuss the benefits of high quality forage in a dairy feed ration. Refreshments will be provided by co-sponsor Organic Valley CROPP Cooperative.

Quality Hay and Grass-Fed Beef Farm Tour

Saturday, August 1310 a.m.
Wood Farm
11402 Indianapolis Rd., Fort Wayne, IN 46809

Wood farm is a certified organic 500 acre hay and pasture farm, which supplies hay to regional dairies and beef to local restaurants. They also raise organic wheat, organic corn, and produce, and keep bees. See the farm’s rotational pastures, Angus herd, and haying equipment, and learn the techniques and systems the Wood family uses to manage each segment of the operation. Learn about how they have partnered with other landowners in the area, including the Fort Wayne airport, to increase their base acreage. Food truck client, Brava's Specialty Burgers, will be on-site and open after the tour.

Organic Compost Farm Tour

Friday, August 1910 a.m.-3 p.m.
Hirzel Canning Company and Farms
20790 Bradner Rd., Luckey, OH 43443
Registration: To register, email eric@oeffa.org with the name of all attendees.

This fifth generation family farm includes more than 2,000 acres of land, 700 of which are certified organic. Learn about small grains and hear how the farm prepares custom, regional, and international orders. Beginning at 1 p.m., tour the licensed compost facility where nutrient-dense crop, grain, livestock, and canning waste is recycled for sale and on-farm use. Weather permitting, see demonstrations of different cultivators from K.U.L.T. Kress Manufacturing. Bring a dish to share for a potluck lunch from 11:45-12:45 p.m. An OEFFA Grain Growers Chapter meeting will take place before lunch from 10-11:45 a.m.

On-Farm Research Farm Tour

Friday, September 161 p.m.
Crumrine Farms
173 State Rte. 511, Nova, OH 44859

Focusing on long-term soil sustainability, Crumrine Farms has been in the Crumrine family for generations. They produce certified organic corn, hay, straw, winter barley, food and feed grade roasted soybeans, oats, and grain sorghum on 260 acres. Learn about the on-farm research being conducted in collaboration with the Ohio State University (OSU) Organic Food and Farming Education Research (OFFER) Program on the Base Cation Saturation Rate (BCSR) method of soil balancing. OSU researchers will be on-site to discuss current observations and to demonstrate soil sample collecting techniques. Learn how your farm can participate in this on-going research.

Pasture-Raised Multi-Species Livestock Farm Tour

Saturday, October 1—12-4 p.m.
Sweet Grass Dairy
6049 Bryant Rd., Fredericktown, OH 43019
Registration: To register, call (814) 758-2708 or email jacob@sweetgrassdairyofohio.com by September 20.

Jacob and Elizabeth Coleman of Sweet Grass Dairy have been operating a diversified pasture-based dairy for more than three years. Hear how the Colemans are building their soil with about 60 pastured dual-purpose cows and how they raise grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured eggs and meat chickens, and pastured Thanksgiving turkeys for direct market and herdshare sales. Learn about multi-species grazing, dairy calf rearing, grazing management, milking, and marketing, and observe cows, chickens, turkeys, and hogs on pasture. Homemade ice cream may be available for a small fee.

Download a pdf of the full series brochure.



Saturday, June 111-4 p.m.
Snowville Creamery
32623 State Rte. 143, Pomeroy, OH 45769
Located on the dairy farm of Lin and Eric Karcher, join Warren and Victoria Taylor of Snowville Creamery for a leisurely field walk and milking parlor tour to learn how milk is processed and bottled for delivery. Enjoy cranking homemade butter or help make frosty ice cream to the sound of live music!

Saturday, June 111-4 p.m.
Find A Way Farm
36789 Buzzard Den Rd., Langsville, OH 45741

Veterans turned farmers, Brian and Beth Duffy of Find A Way Farm invite you to a self-paced pasture walk to experience life on their beautiful 80 acre farm in southeast Ohio. Learn how lamb is raised naturally, visit with free-range hens, pet lambs, and trek to the ridge top for picturesque views. Lamb sampling and sales will be available.

Sunday, June 261 p.m.
Sunny Meadows Flower Farm
3555 Watkins Rd., Columbus, OH 43232

Join Steve and Gretel Adams for a guided tour of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm. This seven acre urban flower farm specializes in mixed cut flower bouquets for local farmers’ markets, grocery stores, florists, weddings, special events, and their on-site retail farm stand.

Sunday, September 1812-4 p.m.
Carriage House Farm
10251 Miamiview Rd., North Bend, OH 45052

Carriage House Farm is a diversified Ohio Century Farm that produces grains, fresh produce, herbs, and honey for local distribution. Tour the garden and high tunnel, examine machinery used to bale hay, take a wagon ride, tour the on-farm market and processing facility, and sample farm ingredients prepared by local chefs and artisan producers. On Sunday, August 28 from 3-7:30 p.m., join the farm for The Haymaker’s Social: A 75 Mile Meal, an on-farm three course snout-to-tail dinner featuring some of the region's best chefs and producers, wine and beer pairings, and bluegrass music. Tickets cost $150, with partial proceeds benefiting OEFFA.

Download a pdf of the full series brochure.


Loin Eye Carcass Ultrasound Scanning
Saturday, June 112-4 p.m.
The Spicy Lamb Farm
6560 Akron-Peninsula Rd., Peninsula, OH 44264
Cost and Registration: This workshop is free, but pre-registration is required. To register, contact Laura Minnig at laura@thespicylamb.com by June 3.

Sheep producers are invited to join Laura Minnig of The Spicy Lamb Farm, a Cuyahoga Valley National Park Countryside Conservancy farm, to learn about the value of using ultrasound technology to select breeding stock and improve product quality. Funded by a grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, the Northcoast Lamb Co-Op is using carcass ultrasound scanning to enhance the market quality of their lamb and to measure muscle quality deficiencies.

Find Your Path to Clean Water: Food Safety Water Quality Standards and Testing Protocols for Produce Growers

Monday, June 203-7 p.m.
MTSO's Seminary Hill Farm
3081 Columbus Pk., Delaware, OH 43015
Cost and Registration: $20 for OEFFA members, $30 for non-members. Price includes dinner. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. To register, click here.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Rule includes detailed water quality and testing requirements for water used in contact with produce before, during, and after harvest. Join Don Stoeckel of Cornell University's Produce Safety Alliance, Gary Horrisberger of Holmes Lab, and Tadd Petersen of Seminary Hill Farm on the campus of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio for a workshop and tour designed to increase your understanding of these FSMA water quality requirements and how they can protect your farm, your business, and your customers. This session will focus on irrigation and packing shed water use and review good agricultural practices (GAP) for farm water usage.

Raising the Steaks: Finishing the Finest Beef on Grass

Friday, June 241-5 p.m.
White Clover Farm
9600 E. Prospect Rd., Hillsboro, OH 45133
Cost and Registration: $20 for OEFFA members, $30 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. To register, click here.

Consumer demand for grass-fed beef is high, but finishing beef on pasture with a consistent quality that consumers expect is a delicate art form. Dr. Jim Linne of White Clover Farm and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Grazing Specialist Troyce Barnett will delve into the finer points of managing a grass-fed herd to improve the marbling and flavor of your beef. Participants will walk White Clover Farm’s pastures and discuss Jim’s forage and cattle selection and frame score. Learn about forage species selection, establishment, and management for different soils, terrains, and microclimates, as well as watering systems and water quality, livestock rotations, stockpiling fescue, and using warm season annuals to extend grazing days.

Profitable Poultry in Motion: Maximizing Performance From Your Pastured Flock

Friday, August 510 a.m.-4 p.m.
Breakneck Acres
2743 Summit Rd., Ravenna, OH 44266
Cost and Registration: $50 for OEFFA members, $70 for non-members. Price includes lunch. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. To register, click here.

Making money from your pastured poultry requires careful planning, sound budgeting, and effective management. Join Ami Gignac and Tim Fox of Breakneck Acres and Casey Rogers of Fertrell for a day-long look at profitably raising healthy layers and broilers on pasture. Ami and Casey will connect financial health and flock health during this session exploring planning and forecasting, budgeting and cost tracking, operations, nutrition and feed mixing, disease management, and financial analysis and pricing. Attendees will receive customizable spreadsheet files with profit and loss statements for broilers and layers.

Season Creation: Pay for Your High Tunnel in Six Months Harvesting Food Through the Winter

Thursday, September 22—12-4 p.m.
Mustard Seed Market at Highland Square
867 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44303
Cost and Registration: $80 for OEFFA members, $100 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. To register, click here.
Thursday, November 10—12-4 p.m. - THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED
Gorman Heritage Farm
10052 Reading Rd., Evendale, OH 45241

Cost and Registration: $80 for OEFFA members, $100 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. Space is limited. To register, click here.

Based on the successful on-farm workshops developed in partnership with Rural Action, these workshops will focus on Green Edge Gardens’ season creation model. Their innovative use of high tunnel greenhouses and grow rooms ensures a year-round selection of organic seasonal vegetables, microgreens, and specialty mushrooms. Harvesting through the winter enables Green Edge Gardens to offer a successful winter community supported agriculture (CSA) program and take advantage of higher off-season prices and reduced competition. Farmers Kip and Becky Rondy and Dan Kneier will demonstrate how utilizing their practical, real world-tested season creation techniques can bring these off-season advantages to your farm, provide you with year-round cash flow, and eliminate the need for off-farm income. All attendees will receive a detailed Season Creation book, planting and harvest calendar, and folder with handouts and resources.
Photos, from top: Mile Creek Farm, Julia Burnside, The Spicy Lamb Farm

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