Skinner family to host symphony on their farm


By Mary Siekman



Delaware County Farm Bureau will present “Benefit in the Barn, A Symphony on the Farm” this summer, with music provided by the Central Ohio Symphony.

This celebration of agriculture and music will debut on Saturday, Aug. 29, with proceeds benefiting local hunger initiatives.

The event takes place on Hardscrabble Farms at 2514 Skinner Road, Delaware. The Skinner family has operated the farm for more than a century.

The family-owned and operated farm was named after a crossroads town from a family favorite fiction novel. The word “hardscrabble” means “yielding or gaining a meager living by great labor.”

Much like the definition behind the farm’s name, the family members who operate the farm can be described by their excellent work ethic, but are also known for their appreciation of family and for their commitment to respecting and caring for the land.

The family of Gary and Carolyn Skinner, Darin (son) and Kristin Skinner, Brian (son) and Connie Skinner and the grandchildren spend much of their time on Hardscrabble Farms.

The two brothers, Darin and Brian, work together with their dad, Gary, to manage the farm.

When posed the question, “What is the best part of working on the farm?” the entire family agreed on one answer — farming as a family.

“It’s a bundle of joy for me to be able to farm with my family,” said Gary. “I get to see my sons mature and develop into good managers and work side by side with them. I get to watch the next generation develop as I watch my grandchildren grow up.”

Brian added, “Farming is a great place to grow up, and a great place to grow old.”

The answer to the question was similar no matter who in the family was asked.

Darin agreed. “The best part of what we do is working together. Everything we do and every decision we make, we do and make as a family. We depend on each other, and we are totally supportive of one another.”

The Delaware County farm family has been working the land for more than 100 years. In 2012 the Skinners celebrated their “century farm,” meaning the farm had been in operation for 100 years.

Hardscrabble Farms continues to be successful by adapting and implementing practices and technology, such as cover crops, sub-surface drainage, no-till and grid sampling.

“These practices are important to us because we focus on soil conservation and environmental stewardship,” said Brian. “We are also big believers in minimizing the amount of fertilizers we are using.”

Hardscrabble Farms was recognized as the recipient of the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District Operator of the Year in 2011 and was awarded the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation District State Soil and Water Cooperator of the Year award in March 2014. These awards are given to those who recognize good stewardship of soil and water in the county.

The Skinner family has been involved in Farm Bureau for generations, including Gary’s great-grandfather who served as the first Delaware County Farm Bureau president. Since that time, the Skinners have had five generations of county Farm Bureau presidents.

“Farm Bureau represents us,” said Gary. “They are good, quality people who are committed to keeping our farms represented and running.”

Gary and Carolyn are fans of the Central Ohio Symphony and have purchased tickets for many of their concerts over the last 10 years.

“We are excited to host this event on our farm and are happy to be involved,” said Gary. “People ask us about it everywhere we go. I am hoping for an overwhelming crowd.”

As a result of the many sponsors who have generously donated to underwrite this event, all of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and distributed to local hunger initiatives throughout Delaware County.

“Delaware has found a way to have fun and help other people at the same time,” said Gary. “This event will draw a completely different crowd than Farm Bureau’s usual audience.”

For more information on the concert and ticket information, contact the Farm Bureau at 740-363-1613.

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By Mary Siekman

Mary Siekman is a junior at the Ohio State University who is studying agricultural communication.

Mary Siekman is a junior at the Ohio State University who is studying agricultural communication.