Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

Family Memories of Guernsey County’s Annie Oakley

Emma Thompson Feeds

This old metal sign from 1913 stirred up family memories of their great-aunt, Emma Sherby.

Memories awaken when a picture or object appears that opens doors to the past. Recently, an original Thompson Feed Company sign brought back memories to the family of Emma Sherby as it stated: No Hunting Without Permission.

 

Emma Thompson Feed 001

This popular feed mill was located at 125 N. 7th Street, where the Genealogical Society is located today.

   In 1913, Ohio decided that hunters needed to have a license. Young Emma at the age of 17 purchased one of those early licenses for the fee of ONE DOLLAR in Cambridge at the Guernsey County Clerk of Courts. She was a very slim girl as the license listed her at 5’9” and 120 pounds with light hair and blue eyes.

 

Emma's Hunting License

Emma was the first woman to have a hunting license in Guernsey County, and perhaps in the state of Ohio.

   Since the law went into effect on November 12 and Emma purchased her license on November 15, she definitely was one of the first to purchase a license and also the first licensed female hunter in Guernsey County.

   Word of this early license spread quickly and an article titled “Girl Hunter Bags Rabbits for Tables of Mining Settlement” was written in the Cleveland Press on November 29, 1913. Hank Sherby still has that original article as well as the cloth hunting license issued to his great-aunt Emma.

 

Emma Cleveland Press

An article about Emma appeared in the Cleveland Press in November, 1913.

   Using a W. Richards Double Barrel Shotgun, her hunting ability was well known in the area as she liked to explore the out-of-doors and often bagged wildlife not only for her own family but for the neighbors as well. Some even called her Guernsey County’s Annie Oakley.

   Back in 1896, Dr. Robbins came to the farm’s log cabin on horseback to deliver baby Emma. A large ledger contains this information about the day she was born: “May 8, 1896, Emma born Friday at 4 o’clock on the farm in the afternoon.” Two months later they moved to the house where Emma lived the rest of her life.

 

Emma's house

She spent her entire life in this house on Cherry Hill Road.

   Her parents, Michael and Josephine Sherby, had four children: Elvin, Emma and twins Ella and Emanuel. Michael was a headhunter recruiting miners for Cambridge Collieries and rented houses on Buffalo Mine Road to miners. Later he worked for Byesville State Bank.

  Dependable seems a proper word to describe Emma. She worked hard all her life. Emma never married but cared for her family by working the farm to pay bills, raising a large garden, canning chickens for winter food, and was a beekeeper to keep honey on the table. Hank describes her as “a hunter/trapper/fisherwoman..a true country girl.” Sounds more and more like Annie Oakley!

 

Emma with fish from their farm pond

Their farm pond supplied fish for the family and also water for the miners’ homes.

 Sometimes when money was scarce during the Depression, Emma would take feathers from the chickens and ducks and barter them for goods at the general store. People enjoyed having the feathers for their pillows and comforters.

  Hank and his brother, Robert, fondly remember bringing in a bucket of blackberries to Emma in the summertime. She would then fire up the wood stove and bake them a blackberry pie in a small tin. Still sounds delicious! It was no secret that Emma had a sweet tooth as well.

 

Emma's traps

These traps were used by Emma to capture animals for fur.

   Although she had the important hunting license, Emma never cared to get a driver’s license. In fact, it is said that Emma never left Guernsey County in her life except when she had to register for Social Security.

   She worked so hard that one wonders what she did for relaxation. Every day the flowers she grew gave her pleasure, but on Sundays, she could often be found riding her white horse on a trail ride in the vicinity of Cherry Hill.

 

Emma's gun with Hank

Hank Sherby feels lucky to still have his great-aunt’s gun.

   Having grown up in the Depression, Emma saved everything and some would say she was a hoarder. In their barn, she had saved a pile of cherry boards that she always said would be used for something special. When Emma died at the age of 93, they made her casket from these cherry boards and had the funeral at the farm where she lived her entire life.

   This lady lived from 1896 – 1983 so would have seen many changes in our world. After living through the Great Depression, it’s easy to understand why Emma saved everything. She didn’t want to have to do without again. Imagine her excitement at seeing those first automobiles, telephones, television, and even a man landing on the moon. Family remembers that Emma kept up with the news and they received four newspapers in their house.

 

Emma gun

Emma hunted with a W. Richards double-barrel shotgun, a gift from her dad.

   Annie Oakley expressed her feelings when she said, “Any woman who does not thoroughly enjoy tramping across the country on a clear frosty morning with a good gun and a pair of dogs does not know how to enjoy life.” Have a feeling that Emma would have agreed.

   Liberated women have been with us throughout history. That’s nothing new. Emma certainly depicted that image from a very early age and continued to do things throughout her life that people today would label as ‘liberated’. Emma Sherby was just ahead of her time.

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Field of Corn Pays Tribute to Agricultural Heritage

Field of Corn Overview 2

109 ears of concrete corn form this unusual memorial to farmers.

One Field of Corn in Dublin will NOT be harvested this autumn. This field is rather unique as it has ears of corn taller than the stalks we usually find in farmers’ fields. However, they are made of concrete!

Frantz Farm Aerial view

This photo shows the original farm of Sam Frantz on this site.

   Years ago from 1935 to 1963, this was an actual cornfield farmed by Sam Frantz, who worked with Ohio State University on creating several species of hybrid corn. When his farming days were over, he donated this land, now called the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park.

Frantz Certified Seed Sign

Sam Frantz posted this sign for his Certified Corn Seed at his farm.

     The concrete ears of corn were placed there to honor Frantz and Ohio’s farmers. In 1850 Ohio was the leading producer of corn in the nation. Even today they still remain in the top ten.

Corn Visitors

These young ladies from New Albany and Cleveland wanted to have a unique experience.

   Field of Corn with Osage Oranges was commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council and finished in 1994. There are 109 six-foot white ears of concrete corn sprouting right out of the ground.

Field of Corn Malcolm Cochran

Sculptor Malcolm Cochran, OSU professor, designed this Field of Corn.

   Artist Malcolm Cochran, professor of sculpture at OSU, designed the concrete cornfield. Molds were made from three original sculptures and these were used to cast ears which were rotated to produce a variety of angles. In that way, each ear of corn looks different to the observer.

Field of Corn Malcolm 001

Sculptor Cochran works on one of the prototypes from which the ears were made.

   There’s a deeper meaning to this display than first meets the eye. The field of corn resembles the regimented grave markers of a military cemetery to represent the death and rebirth of individuals and society. Cochran was designing a tribute to a way of life no longer present in this area, which has been taken over by offices and housing developments.

   Casting was then done by Cooke & Ingle, Co, in Dalton, Georgia. Each cob weighed 1500 lb. requiring four trucks to transport the complete load. The foundation for each cob is concrete at a depth of three feet.

Field of Corn Osage Orange Trees

Two rows of Osage Orange trees with benches for viewing form the west boundary.

   A row of old Osage Orange Trees grows along the west side of the field, and a second row was recently planted. Here you will find brass plaques describing the history of corn from the Native American days until the present.

DSC02572

Clusters of Osage Oranges hung from tree branches.

   Osage Indians used the orange wood from these trees to make bows and tomahawks. Early farmers in Ohio planted it along boundary lines as its thick, thorny branches made a secure border. The fruit of the tree is chartreuse in color and is a natural repellant for pesky insects.

Corn Orsage Orange Fruit

An osage orange fell on this brass plaque, which tells the history of the orange.

   The sculptures look like the Corn Belt Dent variety, but many locals thought it wrong to spend tax dollars to honor food farmers with statues of inedible food.

Field of Corn in Snow

It’s a great place to play Fox and Geese in the snow.

   Today that field of concrete ears is a local icon and locals are using it for many purposes. Weddings are held in the field, office workers play in the snow in the wintertime, children play hide and seek, and families think it’s a great place for pictures.

Field of Corn Family

Families enjoy exploring and taking pictures among the ears of corn.

   Field of Corn has received “Best of Columbus” honors by readers of Columbus Monthly magazine. It’s been voted #1 four times as the best public artwork in central Ohio. 

   If you ever happen to be in the Dublin area, it’s worth a side trip to view this unusual tribute to our farmers. Field of Corn with Osage Oranges is Dublin’s light-hearted way of honoring the community’s past while shaping its future. While there, take some corny pictures!

Find this unusual attraction off I-270 at the Tuttle Crossing Exit. Field of Corn with Osage Oranges is located at 4995 Rings Road at the corner of Frantz Road. 

The Basket Farmer – Howard Peller at Rosehill Farm

Howard w Baskets

This showroom contains baskets that Howard weaves from the willows.

Willow Baskets and Pottery. Those are the two main features at the Rosehill Farm in Roseville where Howard Peller and Maddy Fraioli ignite their creative flames.

   Howard enjoys working with things of nature. “I value homemade objects created from materials that are closely related to the natural environment from which they are grown.” That’s the main reason he surrounds himself with a willow grove on his farm in Roseville.

Howard Garden

Even the garden has naturally grown willow fences and a beautiful willow archway.

    His goal is to use the willows he grows to make useful and practical products that people can use every day. You’ll be surprised at the things that can be woven from the willow reeds.

   From his willow grove, he wants visitors to see the connection between the willow farmer and the artisan who creates finely crafted baskets as well as live willow structures. He appreciates the value of simple hard work.


Howard Bees

Beehives are important for pollination of his orchard and gardens.

   Howard is no stranger to the creative process as has designed artisan made tabletops, home decor, and personal accessory products.  He co-founded a national ceramic tableware company Fioriware Pottery with his partner, Maddy Fraioli. As Longaberger VP, he founded their Design Center to develop new concepts in weaving.

Howard Beaver Dam

Take a walk around the farm and discover a beaver dam that Howard dug himself.

   During his time in Europe, Howard studied with master weavers and learned how to weave with willows. In Lichtenfels, Germany, he attended a basket school where he developed an appreciation of the natural properties of the traditional willow basket.

   He spent time in Haiti and Jamaica where he could easily walk out of the village and gather bamboo. Eventually, he put all these ideas together and came up with his own techniques.

Howard Willow Workshop

It appears everyone is welcome at Howard’s office door.

 On his 140-acre farm, he has a willow grove of 5000 willow plants in 100 different varieties. He enjoys watching them develop with their beautiful colors, texture, tensile strength, smell and their magical property of intensive growth.

   The amazing willow plant has qualities you wouldn’t expect. It’s a medical source for salicin, which was used before aspirin. Therefore, the bark of the willow can be used to make tea, which is good for headaches, fevers, arthritis, and even a great mouthwash.

Howard Drying Willows

Willow rods are stored in a cooling unit where they can be used for living landscapes.

   Each year the plants are cut at the proper season near their base so they can regenerate. Then the willow reeds are dried for two years downstairs in the barn. Bundles of willows are sent around the world for baskets and furniture. The sturdy willow was even used for building ancient boats.

Howard Willow Fence

Willow rods can be used as a natural living fence or divider.

   Home gardeners will find many uses for the willow reed. This living plant can be erected for backdrops, walkthroughs, around gazebos and even made into furniture. One interesting quality is that it can be trimmed, morphed and enjoyed for multiple seasons.

Howard Shelter 2

Workshops are held in this shelter on the hill.

   Howard gives workshops at the farm or they can be arranged for your organization so you can learn to put these ideas to practical use at your home or business.

Howard Willow Dome

Willow domes have been included in living playscapes that he has created.

  The possibilities for their use seem endless. Howard creates beautiful baskets, handbags, bird feeders, and even room dividers. He has also created natural playgrounds using the willow for tunnels, domes, and walkways.

Howard Tag

Their willow baskets all carry the Willow Farmer Basket Maker tag.

   Styles of the baskets alone are amazing and too numerous to list them all. Some that caught my eye were: large shoulder bags, bread baskets, deep bowl baskets and fruit baskets.

Howard Showroom

Howard and Maddy have many creative outlets.

   His basketmaking creates a relationship between the field crop and the hands of the maker, who transforms the willow reeds into products to be used in the home or to collect and transport objects. Or they might just be used to create beauty and happiness in everyday life.

   Rosehill Farm takes you back to a time when everything was natural. Stroll down their trails to see the beauty of the willows, their gardens and flowers, and enjoy being in touch with nature.

   They will be having an Open House this fall where you can enjoy all this beauty. Check out their website at www.basketfarmer.com for further information.

Howard Maddy

His wife, Maddy, makes beautiful pottery on their farm near Roseville.

   Howard and Maddy bring new possibilities into people’s lives with their willow and pottery creations as they honor the Appalachian history of the region.

The Basket Farmer can be found at 7680 Rose Hill Road, Roseville, Ohio, From I-77, take exit 141. Then there are several turns, so hopefully you have a GPS system to guide you over the back roads to the willow farm. It’s worth the country drive.

Find a Taste of Fall at Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek

Hillcrest applesSurely the apple is the noblest of fruits.

~Henry David Thoreau~

Apple cider becomes a favorite drink during autumn, and apples are ranked number one in the top ten healthiest foods. So harvest time felt perfect for a trip to Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek to get fresh apples and cider. Rain or shine, this is a bustling place in the fall.

Hillcrest front

   With over 20,000 bushels of apples this year, they have over twenty varieties from which to choose. Two customer favorites are Golden Delicious and Honey Crisp, my personal choice. Their newest variety is now available – Evercrisp, a combination of Honey Crisp and Fuji.

   Hillcrest Orchard has been in the family since 1968. Today Merle and Lela Hershberger own and operate the orchard with help from their children. Their grandfather, Jacob Hershberger, still helps out as often as possible.

Hillcrest view from overlook

An overview features their orchard and beautiful Mud Valley.

   With over 75 acres of apple trees and 5 acres of peach trees, the Hershberger family works all year round. When the new year begins in January, it’s time to trim trees and remove a block of old trees.

   Then in April, it’s planting time each year for approximately 4,000 dwarf trees – most of them being apple. Luckily, they have a tree transplanter, which is pulled behind a tractor. They can sit on the transplanter and drop in the new trees three feet apart. With this method, they can plant over 1,500 trees in one day.

   There’s always work to be done. After planting trees, the trunks are hand wrapped with wire to keep them straight. Trellises, holding two wires that go through the trees, keep the branches from hanging to the ground. During the summer months, the apples need to be thinned on each tree. An apple tree cannot be too full of apples for best production.

Hillcrest Apple sorter

Matt Hershberger often runs the apple sorter.

   In the fall when picking begins, some extra help is needed from young people in the community. All the apples are hand-picked from ladders. That is one of the reasons they switched to dwarf apple trees so they could more easily be reached.

Hillcrest Cidermill

Mark Hershberger and his son, Adam, explain the cider press.

   Fresh pressed apple cider is made at their business operation every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. During October they make 4,000 gallons each week. One Friday/Saturday last year they sold 2,250 gallons.

Hillcrest Sample

A free sample of fresh apple cider tasted refreshing.

   Their cider is unpasteurized so it’s placed immediately in a cooling tank. That also means that it’s only good for about two weeks. Be sure to get a free sample while visiting.

Hillcrest Vinegar

There are many uses for apple cider vinegar.

   Whatever cider isn’t sold is placed into wooden barrels for one year. There it becomes apple cider vinegar, which is also available at their store.

Hillcrest Apple butter

Their fresh apple butter was a popular item.

   However, apples and their products aren’t the only things on hand. Hillcrest Orchard’s the perfect place to find organic fruits and vegetables while in season. Their products look picture perfect. You can also buy pumpkins, mums, baled hay or straw. You’ll be surprised at all the treats available.

Hillcrest Kettle Corn

In the parking lot, Hostetler Kettle Corn provides an extra treat.

   Outside during the fall months, you’ll enjoy the flavor of Hostetler Kettle Corn. Freshly popped in the lot, the smell draws you to their tent. Pick up a bag to munch on while driving home through beautiful Amish country.

   The children and grandchildren feel part of the business as they have grown up in the orchard and store. Hopefully, those youngsters will someday continue providing apples and peaches for all to enjoy.

Hillcrest Welcome

Bags of fresh apples greet you – The First Taste of Fall.

   Merle’s son, Mark, lists pressing cider and picking apples as his favorite chores. When asked what he’d like to do in the future, his answer, “Plant more trees.” What do these hard-working young men like to do for fun? Deer hunt! There’s evidence of that around their store with several deer head mounts.

Hillcrest Cider Sign   Hillcrest Orchard is open from July through April. It has even become a requested stop for tour buses. Many people make an annual visit there in the fall and some stop by often to pick up fresh produce. One man said he took the cider home and froze it in small containers so he could have fresh tasting cider for months to come.

Hillcrest Check out

Area young people help out during their busiest season – September and October.

   Stop by the orchard and pick up some apples straight from the tree. Apples can be enjoyed in so many different ways: apple pie, applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp, dipped in caramel, or just take a bite of a fresh, juicy one. However you decide to use the apples, they will taste delicious.

   Remember, apples are also healthy, so that old adage of ‘an apple a day’ is a good rule to follow. Stop at Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek on your next trip to Amish Country and experience the fresh taste of fall.

Hillcrest Orchard of Walnut Creek can be reached off I-77 at Exit 83. Go left on OH 39W until you reach 515. Turn right at the light, then go straight back about a half mile to the Orchard on the right. 

Five Generations on Robinson Family Farm

Robinson farm 001

The Robinson Family Farm is located in Noble County.

Farming requires hard work and dedication as there’s no time clock to punch. Farmers work until the job is finished. Having lived on a farm all my life, it seems important to me to share stories of our local farmers from time to time.

   One special farm family comes from the Noble County area. For over a hundred years, the Robinson Farm has been in their family. Today Jerry Robinson lives there and keeps the family working together. He recalls many stories of the farm over the years.

Jerry and family 001

Jerry is surrounded by his family. Front row: Mom and Dad; Row 2: Jerry and his late wife, Julia; Row 3: his three sons, Dinty, David, and Jerry II.

   Back in 1909, Perley and Rachel Robinson decided to purchase eighty acres in Noble County for $400. They had been renting a farm and wanted a place of their own. Nothing but brush grew on the land and only enough grass for two cows and two horses.

   Three small coal mines were dug into the banks to provide heating for their home and perhaps they sold a little to help with expenses. These small mines even had tracks and coal cars.

   This great-grandfather built a sturdy home there of oak 2x4s. That home still stands today and provided a place for the second generation, Ralph’s family, to live.

Jerry and brothers 001

Jerry, in the middle, and his brothers gather with their dad on the porch of their farmhouse.

   Ralph and his wife, Bonnie, had six children, four boys and two girls. All four boys, Jerry included, were born at home while the two girls came later in life and were born at Caldwell Hospital. One of the boys was placed in the oven of a wood burner to keep him warm.

Jerry's first dog

Jerry’s friendly dog, Tippy, followed him wherever he went.

   When Jerry was four years old, he had an accident while trying to wire something to his wagon. The wire flew into his eye and he’s been blind in his right eye ever since. But that’s no excuse for not working!

   From the beginning, the Robinsons chose to raise Hereford cattle, and still do today. They rented 1500 acres of pasture from the coal company, and more from neighbors for pasture and hay.

Jerry's Dad 001

Perley Robinson with his favorite Ford tractor.

   Jerry still remembers that when he was five years old they had two horses, Doc and Bell, that pulled their farm equipment before their first tractor, which was purchased in 1949. Like most farmers, tractors are special to Jerry and he even has an extensive Ford and New Holland model tractor collection.

Jerry on first tractor

Jerry still has his first tractor – a 1962 Ford diesel.

   He’s lived on this same farm all his life and helped his dad with farm-work in the evenings after school. This never seemed a chore, as it was just something he liked doing.

   Being on his tractor and tending his beef cattle give him enjoyment. Night calls to the barn to help bring a new calf into the world are nothing new to him. Over the years, he worked for the highway department, but farming has always been in his blood.

Robinson's new calf

Welcoming a new calf at the barn is a family affair with Jerry, his son and grandsons.

   Jerry’s son, Dinty, loves the farm as much as his dad. The grandsons, that fifth generation, are great workers and eager helpers. Most days, someone is working from 6-6, and often later during haying season. They might work until three in the morning if rain is predicted and hay needs to be brought in.

Robinson horse show 002

Grandsons: Lane, Colin and Dolan take great pride in showing their horses.

   His grandsons play an important role on the farm. Dolan, Colin and Lane spend hours each day practicing their sport, which is riding horses. Dolan got his first horse at the age of six and was in a horse show that same day.

   These rare young men would rather be outside riding, hunting, and trapping instead of watching television or playing video games. Whatever they do in the future, these modern cowboys won’t sit behind a desk.

   Lane keeps track of all cattle birth dates, and even names each calf. An unusual happening, on the farm recently, involved a heifer that was having trouble delivering her calf. She was taken to OSU by trailer and they performed a C-section there. Mother and calf are doing fine. Lane named this new calf Lucky.

Motorcycle

In the summer, you might find Jerry and his wife, Ellen, delivering sweet corn to friends and family on their Can-Am Spyder.

   Once in a while Jerry and his wife vacation and as you might imagine, especially enjoy being in the open country. Jerry likes the open space of the west and has been to Alaska, parts of Canada, and Hawaii. This summer, Nova Scotia was their destination for several weeks of summer exploration.

   There have been many changes Jerry remembers from those early years on the farm. The equipment is bigger and easier to use. Now the tractor has a cab with heat, AC and even music. Coyotes and bobcats are new to the scene, so newborn calves are kept in the barn for a few days.

Jerry's New Holland

Jerry treated himself to a 2017 New Holland tractor last year.

   Squirrel hunting is the only kind of hunting Jerry likes to do. He doesn’t want to kill something unless it can be eaten. An ideal dinner would be fried squirrel with sweet potatoes and squirrel gravy.

   Bush-hogging keeps him busy in the summer months as he likes to have things looking neat at Robinson Farm. Many say, “It’s the cleanest farm in Noble County.”

Make Your Memory a Tradition at Pearl Valley Cheese

PV storefront

Pearl Valley Cheese is today nestled in the valley along State Route 93 between Fresno and Baltic.

This has been a great year for us!  We won the 2017 Ohio Grand Champion Swiss Cheesemaker at the Ohio Swiss Festival.  What a testimony to our amazing farmers, employees and especially all our customers who continually support us year after year.”                              ~Pearl Valley Cheese

PV Original Factory

Their original business sat in the parking lot of today’s Pearl Valley Cheese.

Pearl Valley Cheese has been a family owned business since 1928. No wonder they have excelled at making the best cheese around. They credit their success with farmers bringing them high quality milk, employees who all seem like family, and wonderful customers from all over the area. It’s not surprising they have won many state, national and international awards.

PV Founders

Swiss immigrants, Ernest and Gertrude Stalder, started Pearl Valley Cheese in 1928.

Founded by Swiss immigrants, Ernest and Gertrude Stalder, area farmers brought them their fresh milk in cans by horse and wagon. They purchased the building, which was on today’s property, for $700.

PV Original Copper Kettle

This was the original copper kettle used for making cheese until WWII.

Ernest thought it needed a little improvement so began hauling wheelbarrow loads of bricks from a nearby source until he was satisfied with its appearance. In those early days of 1928, cheese sold for eleven cents a pound.

PV Tanker

A stainless steel tanker is unloading a morning load of milk after it had been tested.

All the milk they use today is of top quality and as safe as they can possibly buy. The milk comes from about 50 area farmers and two milk marketing co-ops. Dairy producers are very important because high quality milk makes high quality cheese. Each load is tested for antibiotics, and the whole load would be disposed of if any were found. This rarely happens.

PV milk silos

These cold wall silos hold the milk until ready for pasteurization.

Once the milk is received, they store it in cold wall silos until time for it to be pasteurized to make sure bacteria counts are minimized. Then the milk is cooked in Double Os, which look like ‘large stainless steel crock pots’, holding 4000 gallons each, until the curds are formed. Around 30,000 gallons of milk are used at Pearl Valley Cheese each day, resulting in 25-30,000 pounds of cheese daily.

PV Double Os

Four Double Os, ‘large stainless steel crock pots’, cook the milk until curds are formed.

The separated cream is sold to a butter factory in Wisconsin. Pearl Valley buys back truckloads of butter monthly to sell in their store and to their wholesalers. A pound of that delicious fresh butter came home with this gypsy.

They process the whey and send it to other companies, who dry it and use some of it in nutritional whey protein drinks, animal feeds and other food products. Some of the excess whey is stored at Pearl Valley in a waste water treatment plant, where it is refined into methane gas, then used to create electricity for their business. Pearl Valley has gone green.

PV draining table

The curds and why are separated on this draining table by churning arms.

Through a window to the left of the cheese store, you can watch cheese being made most weekday mornings. See giant vats of milk being turned into curds on their draining tables, and then packed into cheese rolls or wedges.

PV Cheese Tubes

After the curds and whey are separated, the curds are pressed into tubes and wedges.

Only two major cheeses are made here: Swiss and Cheddar, and four different kinds of each. At the end of the day, everything is cleaned and sanitized to maintain their high standards.

PV Swiss

Large blocks of Swiss cheese float in the brine to add a touch of salt to their taste.

Swiss cheese is often more expensive because it takes more time to make. Once blocks of Swiss are formed, they are then soaked in a salt brine to absorb a small amount of salt.

PV Swiss Cheese Crates

Sally Ellie, my guide on this trip, explained the crates of Swiss cheese in the warming room where they wait for the bubbles to burst.

After this they are placed in a warming room at 76* where the cheese is placed in wooden crates where it “creates the holes”. Those round holes are caused by carbon dioxide bubbles in the cheese, and take weeks to appear.

Ohio is the largest producer of Swiss cheese in the nation. While several local places make Swiss Cheese, the Stalder family feels Pearl Valley makes it better than anyone else. Their Mild Swiss Cheese is an area favorite.

Grace and Sally

Grace Stalder and her daughter, Sally Ellis, display a large piece of Swiss cheese, a customer favorite.

Four generations of that Swiss family are still working there today headed up by John and Grace Stalder and their extended family. Grace shared her story of joining the Stalder family 60 years ago when she married John, the son of Ernest and Gertrude. The next morning Ernest was at their door telling Grace she needed to total lines of figures that very day. She’s been working there ever since.

PV 2017 Ohio State Fair

Their awards include 2017 Ohio State Fair Grand Champion.

They feel with all their experience, they know how to make cheese the very best way. Even though they have a retail store, they want your experience to be more than a buying adventure. They want to educate you on how the cheese is made from farm to table.

PV Playground

There’s even a close-by playground for children to enjoy.

Customers enjoy their friendly service with plenty of free cheese samples so you can always get a taste before buying. Prices are extremely reasonable so people come back again and again. Everyone has their favorites from Baby Swiss to Extra Sharp Cheddar. Visit soon and try to decide your favorite from so many choices.

Make your visit a special memory that starts a tradition of visiting Pearl Valley Cheese with your family.

Pearl Valley Cheese is located on Ohio State Route 93 between Fresno and Baltic.

Malabar Farm, Home of Louis Bromfield

Malabar The Big House

The “Big House” served as home to Louis Bromfield, his wife and three daughters.

Enter Pleasant Valley to find Malabar Farm, the dream of Louis Bromfield. Tour his “Big House”, visit animals in his barn, or follow the self-driven auto tour of Shawshank Redemption film sites. Spend a day or a weekend.

Malabar Smokehouse

Bricks for this smokehouse came from the Mansfield home of Henry Wallace, vice-president of the United States under Franklin Roosevelt.

Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize winning author, was born in Mansfield. After a variety of experiences, he returned to that area for what he considered the perfect place to live. Two things he loved all his live were the farm and words.

Malabar Desk

Often Bromfield wrote at this desk while looking out the window at his farm.

It seemed he had trouble early in life finding that magical work that would please him. He went to agriculture college, studied journalism, served in the Army as an ambulance driver, journeyed through France and eventually came back to the United States to work at writing for several newspapers.

Malabar Gift Shop Books

The gift shop had a fantastic selection of Bromfield’s novels.

Following those experiences, Bromfield began writing novels, which won him high acclaim. His first book, Green Bay Tree, was a big success. His novels were always based on the people and places he knew well. He used a quilt pattern by taking one piece from here and another from there and fitting them all together. He turned his life into stories. All thirty novels were best sellers and several became motion pictures.

Malabar Pulitzer Book

His novel, Early Autumn, earned Bromfield the 1927 Pulitzer Prize.

His third novel, Early Autumn, won the 1927 Pulitzer Price for Novels. This financial success gave him opportunity to take his wife and three daughters to Paris for a few years and also visited India for a few months. How they all enjoyed life in Paris, but when threat of WWII was in the air, Bromfield brought his family back to the United States.

Malabar Portrait

This portrait of Bromfield and his wife, Mary, reminded them of their happy times in France.

In 1939, Bromfield settled back into his old hometown area of Pleasant Valley, where he purchased three farms, totaling one thousand acres. Since he enjoyed the Malabar coast of India, the farm was called Malabar, which means “gently rolling hills and valleys”.

Malabar Grand Piano

Bromfield’s daughter, Hope, played this piano for the wedding of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Starting with the original farmhouse, he added several additions for a total of 32 rooms, including nine bedrooms and ten bathrooms. This “Big House” became the perfect place to entertain his guests from Hollywood. If you came to visit, Bromfield insisted you help with farm work. That’s how Shirley Temple learned how to milk cows and Jimmy Cagney to run a vegetable stand.

Malabar Wedding 001

This sketch by Tom Bachelder captured Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall cutting their wedding cake after being married at Malabar Farm in 1945.

A close friend was Humphrey Bogart, who asked Bromfield if he could get married at Malabar. Arrangements were made for Bogart and Lauren Bacall to have their ceremony there with 700 guests attending.

Malabar Bromfield at desk

This old photo shows Bromfield at one of his desks, where he did some of his writing.

Every room of their house contains shelves of books, nearly 4,000 total. Bromfield is said to have only slept two or three hours a night so that gave him extra time to read and write novels. His daytime hours were most likely spent pursuing his interest in agriculture.

Malabar Louis and Prince

The painting shows Bromfield with his favorite Boxer, Prince.

Over seventy dogs lived at Malabar during Bromfield’s life there and eighty percent of them were boxers. His favorite boxer was Prince. There’s even a picture of a ghost boxer dog still hanging around.

Malabar Guide, Alana and Jeep

Our guide, Alana, tells about the restored Jeep that Bromfield used around the farm.

His ideas as a conservationist changed the face of agriculture in Ohio. He needed to enrich the worn-out soil so planted soybeans and plowed them under to add nitrogen to the soil. Hillsides were planted around in strips to avoid erosion, and he promoted the idea of rotation of crops. His decision to use the spreading multifloral rose as a fence still angers farmers today.

Malabar sign

Malabar Maple Syrup Cabin

Over 650 maple trees are being tapped along the road to Maple Syrup Cabin.

In 1972, the state of Ohio accepted the deed to Malabar Farm and pledged to uphold its beauty and preserve the ecological value of the farm. Everything inside remains as it was when the Bromfields lived there. Then in 1976, Malabar Farm became an Ohio State Park.

Malabar Restaurant

Built in 1820 from bricks made on site, the Schrack Place has become Malabar Restaurant.

There’s no charge to enjoy the trails with rocks and caves, and the tour of “Big House” is only $5. Check out their calendar at www.malabarfarm.org for many exciting activities. Don’t forget the educational Welcome Center.

Malabar Shawshank Trail

Follow the self-guided auto tour of authentic Hollywood sites from the Shawshank Redemption movie, which was filmed in part on Malabar Farm.

If you enjoy a country drive on scenic back roads, Malabar Farm might be the perfect place for an adventure. Perhaps we’ll come back for a ghost tour in the future.

Malabar Farm is located in Richland County about seven miles southeast of Mansfield. Their address is 4050 Bromfield Road, Lucas, Ohio. Using your GPS would be a great idea as there are many country roads to travel.


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