All are invited to come out and see an interesting cross section of Ashtabula County's agriculture on Saturday and Sunday. Urban residents, as well as those in rural areas, will be especially interested in the variety of stops on this drive-it-yourself tour, to be held from 1 to 5 p.m. both days.
Five stops are included on the tour. You can visit all of them or just one or two, depending on your interests and time, staying as long as you like. The tour is sponsored by the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau and the Antique Engine Club.
One of the stops will be the Bob Gale and Son Farm at 2152 Dodgeville Road in New Lyme Township. Bob and son Lewis farm 1,750 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat using some of the most modern technology available. With the help of computers, global positioning systems and auto steer on their equipment, they are precise in the cultivation, fertilizer and spraying practices. Soil conserving minimum till with some no-till are regular tillage practices. This farm will be open Saturday afternoon only.
Emerine Estates Winery on 5689 Loveland Road, Cherry Valley Township, is another stop. This winery, started in 2006, is a partnership with Jason Emerine and Melissa Bohr and specializes in several fruit varieties of wines along with other kinds. They have a new family recreation complex, inside seating for about 100 people with 65 outside on a deck. A limited food menu is available.
Larry Stevens and Family Fish and Christmas Tree Farm on 8711 Stanhope Kelloggsville Road in Williamsfield is a third stop. This unique stop will feature aqua culture, or fish farming, along with a Christmas tree plantation. Larry has a series of 11 ponds including a 2 1/2 acre reservoir, six feed out ponds and four small nursery ponds. He hatches fish naturally in the reservoir. Species include bass and blue gill.
He has 40 to 45 acres of Christmas trees that he markets mostly choose and cut. Included are Colorado blues, Norway spruce, white and scotch pines and Frazier fur.
For a great dairy farm visit, stop at Bossy's Way farm on Route 46 in New Lyme north of Route 6. Chris and Cindy Zaebst and family milk about 160 cows three times a day and raise 160 young animals. This is a top producing herd in the state with an average of more than 3,000 gallons of milk a year from each cow. More than 500 acres of crops are raised to feed this dairy herd. Animal comfort and care are top priorities for this family.
For a fifth interesting visit, stop at the Antique Engine Club grounds on Route 322 in Wayne. You will see many antique tractors, an outstanding agricultural museum and their large Fairbanks Morse Engine in operation. A flea market will be held and food will be available. The Antique Engine Club holds some of the best shows in the area that give a great educational view of what agriculture was like over the last 75 to 100 years.
Except for the Antique Engine Club stop, where there may be a small charge, this tour is free. You can travel the stops at your leisure, stay as long as you are interested at each one and drive to the next one. All stops are down in the southeastern part of Ashtabula County. Maps are available by calling the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau Office at 440-437-8700.
Parker is retired from Ohio State University and is an independent writer for the Tribune.