A new adventure for the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District is the first ever drive-it-yourself Farm Tour on Aug. 18. Join us from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at any or all of the five sites across beautiful Delaware County. The Farm Tour is free, family oriented, and you can visit the sites in whatever order you choose. The tour is joint project of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District, Delaware County Farm Bureau, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Meijer and Delaware County.
The number one industry in Ohio is agriculture with almost 14 million acres of farmland. Ohio has more than 75,000 farms contributing $105 billion annually to Ohio’s economy. The Buckeye State grows and raises more than 200 products ranging from the traditional corn and soybeans to the nontraditional such as fruits, maple syrup, cut flowers, hops and more. The Delaware County Farm Tour will highlight our local diversity at the following locations:
• Sherman Farms. This farm is one of Delaware County’s Century Farms with the sixth generation farming the land. One of the farms has been accepted into the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program and will stay in agriculture into perpetuity. The Shermans have been long time collectors of Allis Chalmers equipment and will have many antiques dating back to 1927 on display. A pedal tractor course will be set up for the kids. The Shermans believe water quality is important and use a variety of conservation practices such as the first two stage bioreactor and phosphorus removal structure in Ohio.
• Wholesome Harvest CSA. The Gilsons have a seasonal high tunnel, also known as a hoop house, and grow produce for their Community Supported Agriculture customers and for farmers’ markets. Maple syrup and honey are also part of their operation and samples will be available for tasting. They practice woodland management including removal of invasive species such as grapevines. Using the grapevine removed from the woodland on site, you can make your own grapevine wreath at this stop.
• Bret Davis Seeds, LLC. Experience the latest technology that farmers use in planting, harvesting, applying soil amendments, and keeping records. Learn about seed treatment and why treatment is used. The Ohio Soybean Council will have hands-on kids activities. Tri Township Fire Department and OSU Extension will demonstrate a grain bin rescue, a valuable tool used in the instance a person gets trapped by shifting grain inside a storage facility.
• Hardscrabble Farms, Inc. with Harrison Farms. Three families work together on this 106 year old farm growing primarily corn and soybeans. See large farm equipment up close and have your picture taken sitting in the driver’s seat of a combine. Harrison Farms will have a petting zoo with baby goats and lambs for everyone to enjoy.
• Doutt Reservoir. While this technically is not a farm, the city of Columbus’ upground reservoir has an influence on the surrounding crop fields. Major drainage improvements were installed at the time of construction and those improvements are part of the Delaware County Drainage Maintenance Program. Normally closed to the public, the city is hosting walking tours up to the top of the dam to view the 850-acre reservoir which holds nine billion gallons of water.
We promise the drive-it-yourself tour will have something for everyone and be filled with entertainment and information. Details about the five stops along with a map can be found at www.delawareswcd.org or by calling the office at 740-368-1921. A suggested driving route is on the website for those who may wish to visit all of the stops. The tour is free and will be exciting for the entire family. We look forward to seeing you!
Bonnie Dailey is deputy director of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to www.delawareswcd.org.