Schumaker’s’ Produce Stand gets ready to open for another busy day.
Once a farmer, always a farmer
Driving just outside of West Lafayette, a small produce stand catches your eye. At this time of year, pumpkins, squash, and cornstalks give you a feel of fall in the air. But there’s much more to the story of Schumaker Farms than just their produce stand. Let me tell you the rest of their story.
Way back in 1806, now we’re talking over 200 years ago, the family of Francis McGuire from Hampshire County, Virginia settled here on 1500 acres. Their daughter, Magdalena, married George Miller, and that family tradition has continued to operate this farm for seven generations.
Jim and Wendy Schumaker are the present family members working on this farm. Now their farm is much smaller as when it was passed down, the land was split between heirs. But pride in their heritage continues. Jim’s great-grandfather was the original owner. Several family members are buried high on a farm hill in Miller-McGuire Cemetery where their spirits keep watch over the farm.
The buildings on the farm date back to 1887 as you can easily see from the printing on the barn’s slate roof. Jim has strived over the years to improve the farm. ”I want to make it a showplace to share the farm with other people.” He’s always looking for new things to include to promote the farm in agritourism.
They sell their produce in the summer months from a building constructed by Jim’s father, Robert, following his service in WWII. It was first used as a commercial garage, then later as an auto shop, Ferguson tractor dealership and boat dealership.
Their most popular item at this produce stand is sweet corn. With eight acres of corn, they pick it fresh every morning. They have raised sweet corn for 58 years and sell about a hundred dozen ears a day all summer long.
Wendy keeps busy with her catering business as well since 1995. Perhaps she picked up her love of cooking from her grandmother, who was a great cook. But most of all, Wendy enjoys working with the various people she meets.
Their catering service can be “at our place or yours”. Their place is a large pavilion on the farm where people frequently have wedding receptions, family reunions, and other special events. Wendy caters all around the area and was recently honored to cater the luncheon for the dedication of the Woody Hayes bronze statue during the “Gateway to Fall” celebration in Newcomerstown.
People enjoy favorites such as cheesy potatoes, pulled pork, and meatballs. Schumaker Farms Sweet BBQ Sauce became so popular, they now have it bottled so you can take home that great taste.
Today their son Chad and his wife Leigha have taken over many of the day-to-day operations and plan to keep the farm going. Leigha has a special flair for decorating while Chad has loved farming since his youth. They are in charge of the seven-acre pumpkin patch.
Fall is Fun Time at Schumaker Farms. On weekends you can hop on a hayride to the pumpkin patch, where you can pick the pumpkin of your choice.
Bring the youngsters along to play in the corn bin, slide down their huge slide, and visit the petting zoo. Enjoy the corn maze and a barn straw maze while picking up fresh produce or a delicious snack. Admission is $5 a car and includes all activities.
Field trips for school groups create a great learning experience with a retired teacher explaining how a pumpkin becomes a pumpkin as well as other insights into farming. The Schumakers explain, “Those roly-poly orange spheres with built-in handles on top are naturals to wear grins or sneers and destined to bring grins to all your students’ faces.”
When they eventually “slow down” and take a break, a cruise to a warm climate is their top choice. This chance only happens in January or February when they have enjoyed the Caribbean and Panama Canal in the last few years.
Stop by Schumaker Farms for their Pumpkin Patch & Farm Experience this fall. There are lots of things to see and do. These hard-working people enjoy their lives. For them, work is fun!
Schumaker Farms is located along OH-751 just west of West Lafayette. From US 36 take OH-751 south and watch for the farm produce stand on the left side of the road.