Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turner Farm book club adventure

How fun was our book club's excursion to Turner Farm!

Look who came running to greet us! (such sweet little snouts!) They were like little puppies, so friendly and curious. Here 3 of them are trying to crowd into a photo.
Sally, the education director and our friend, led us on a tour of the property, a 60 acre certified organic farm in Hamilton County, Ohio. One of the farm cats and one of the dogs help to guide us along. Certified by the Ohio Ecological Farm and Food Association (OEFFA), Turner Farm is a non profit educational organization.

“Turner Farm operations promote connection between people of all ages and the land that feeds them, in body, mind and spirit. Through education and example, we nurture understanding of the rhythms of nature, and our place in the natural world, fostering recognition of personal responsibility for stewardship of the land and development of nuturing community." (1)

Turner Farm offers education for adults and children, holds events (like the upcoming sheep shearing), and has 4 CSAs--vegetable, meat and eggs, flower, and winter vegetable.

CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. Members pay a fee, work some hours, and get wonderful products in return.

This land has been actively farmed since the early 1800s. In order to protect Turner Farm’s agricultural lands permanently, including its historic, scenic, and conservation values, an Agricultural Conservation Easement was created. This land will forever be farmland. Lush and lovely, its gardens and fields are home to a variety of plants and animals. Bordered by woods, there are meadows and fields. Sheep and chickens graze in open pastures. The pond is fed by runoff from wetlands. Beauty and peace abound. One feels a sense of coming home.
As I turn down the long lane of the farm located in suburban Cincinnati, I notice the surrounding fields--some pasturelands, some waiting for vegetable planting. Many buildings are scattered about the property. There are hay barns, a dairy barn, 3 poultry houses, a swine facility (which by the way, has a solar "electric" fence), greenhouses, many smaller shelters for animals and equipment storage. There is a small building out of which produce and eggs are sold.
On this lush Spring evening, yellow daffodils dotting the landscape, are silently nodding their frilly heads. They are especially abundant ringing the almost one-third acre pond.

the farmhouse
Turner Farm uses draft horses to plow, disk, harrow, cultivate, and pull wagons. This traditional method of farming provides the farmer with a connection to the land. The driver is able to breathe fresh air and listen to the natural surrounding sounds. The farmer feels more in tune with the rhythms of nature and the farm.

greenhouse, cold frames, shed (above)

Here we are lined up along the fence trying to get a look at the 3 draft horses and 1 donkey. (left)

Many people are turning to local foods for a variety of reasons. Mainly folks just want to know where their food comes from and how it was raised. Local food, since it is not bred to travel long distances or be stored for long periods, just tastes better. And then there's the variety. Oh the variety! Who knew there were so many colors of potatoes, of eggs, of swiss chard, carrots, and radishes. And the lusciousness of a "home-grown" tomato sun-ripened and fresh off the vine! Variety and flavor are hugely important. But also increasingly important to people is to be able to eat food that has not been subjected to pesticides, chemicals, and cruel practices. We want food that has not been stripped of its nutrients.

more than just white, eggs of brown, beige, blue, blue-green

Turner Farm is committed to ecologically sound farming practices in order to produce food which is nutritionally superior and diverse. Maintaining healthy soil, which in turn produces healthy plants and animals, is of primo importance. No artificial chemicals, fertilizers, nor pesticides are used. Compost, natural plant-based supplements, and integrated pest management are the means to this end.

We end our tour as twilight settles over the land. Feeling refreshed by breathing in the soft Spring air, we turn into the workroom where our dinner is waiting. Some of our dishes were made with fresh spinach, eggs, and butter from the farm. YUM! We settle in with our dinner, glass of wine, and special friends. A perfect setting for our discussion of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.


Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

local food can be purchased via CSAs, farmers' markets, co-ops, or directly from the grower
Local Harvest You can put your zip code in on this site and find locations near you.
USDA publications and information

Locavore--someone who eats food that is grown locally for the sake of environmental and economic principles. (The definition of local is somewhat loose being anywhere from 50-150 miles radius.)

San Francisco Locavore website

photos by me ©2009


  1. Wow that sounds like quite the place! I wish that we had things like that around here. All of our produce comes from Mexico, but I'm determined to get something going once I settle down (army life doesn't do much for consistency). And those pigs - too cute!

  2. What a wonderful place to visit! And how great that it will always be farmland.

  3. Oh my goodness!! That just sounds like a wonderful adventure....I love the little piggies too!! They are quite the little models, huh?

  4. It sounds like a great and educational trip! They recently opened a farm like this in our town. For a fee you can get a bushel of produce every week.

  5. gorgeous place! Beautiful farm country

  6. Very fun place! Love the little piggies ;-)

  7. wow - how neat! What a nice thing to do as a group! {:-D


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