LANCASTER, Ohio — Farmers Josh and Lynne Schultz put more than eggs in their basket.
They put greens, sweet corn, cabbages, carrots, eggplants, tomatoes and potatoes in it, too — to name just a few.
Then they sell them straight to consumers through farmers markets and their own community supported agriculture program, or CSA.
The Schultzes run Schultz Valley Farms in Lancaster in southeast Ohio, a 200-acre family farm that yields a virtual smorgasbord. Not just fresh vegetables but beef, oats, herbs, baked goods and maple syrup are some of its wares.
“Josh and Lynne Shultz are amazing young producers,” said Jerry Iles, agriculture and natural resources educator with Ohio State University Extension’s Fairfield County office, also in Lancaster. “They have three young children, work off-farm jobs, and grow and sell a huge variety of products.
“Their farm shows how diversified a direct marketing operation has to be to generate enough income to sustain a family business.”
What the farm does to succeed, be sustainable
A tour of the farm on June 14 will feature its big range of products. Called the Diversified Vegetable Farm Tour, it’s from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 424 Zion Road SE in Lancaster, about 40 miles southeast of Columbus. Admission is free and open to the public.
“I think what visitors will learn is the real time commitment and dedication it takes to manage a year-round, highly diversified farming operation,” said Iles, who’s organizing the tour as part of the statewide Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series. Six groups, including OSU Extension’s Sustainable Agriculture Team, are co-presenting the series. Iles is a member of the team.
The tour will be part of another series, too: Fairfield County’s Local Foods Farm Tour Series, which also involves Iles as its coordinator.
OSU Extension, for its part, is the statewide outreach arm of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.
Grow more, make more with high tunnels
Iles said one of the keys for the Schultzes is using the structures called high tunnels. Also called hoop houses, they shelter crops, extend the growing season, and in doing so boost the farm’s production and income. The tour will show them in use.
The Schultzes also direct-market freezer beef from their own cattle, eggs from their own chickens, maple syrup from trees on their farm, and cottage foods they’ve made themselves including candies, jams and jellies.
See what it takes to market directly
In the end, Iles said he hopes touring the farm will “provide visitors with a great understanding of what it takes to grow and market a tremendous variety of farm products to consumers.”
Registering for the event in advance is suggested. To register, call OSU Extension’s Fairfield County office at 740-652-7260 or email Kelly Scott in the office at email@example.com.