EcoTrack 11: The big business of farming the old fashioned way

Report by James Canterbury
Posted by SM

HURON, OHIO (WTOL) - The Chef's Garden is a small family farm in Huron, Ohio that has become a booming business because it grows produce the old fashioned way- pesticide and hormone free.

But times weren't always easy on the farm.

Twenty-five years ago, the Jones family farm grew crops for quantity just like everyone else. Then the farm was completely wiped out by hail. Not knowing how to bounce back, they listened to some unlikely advice.

Lee ones, co-owner of The Chef's Garden says, "Here's this handfull of chefs saying look, grow for the quality, grow it without chemicals, do it the right way and we'll support you. And we grabbed on to both ankles and said 'Teach us'".

They learned that the best way to grow for quality was using the land as a sustainable resource.

"We have to be able to create a situation where we can rebuild nutrients naturally rather than chemically."

As more natural processes were implimented on the farm, the flavor of the produce was enhanced.

"It tastes like it was just harvested, like it was just picked. It's so good- you can't beat this."

The taste became the talk of the town. Soon chefs from all over the country were calling asking for specially grown ingredients.

"We can harvest product and ship that to our customers and have that on a plate within 24 hours of the harvest," says Jones.

Lee and his family are proud of the way they listen to the land to grow fresh, quality products.

"You're dealing directly with the grower and after 3 or 4 visits to that farmer's market and that farmer hasn't invited you out to his farm because he/she isn't proud of the way they are growing that product, maybe it's time to move to a new grower."

For Lee, using the land wisely today includes leaving it in better condition for future generations to farm tomorrow-and the future looks delicious.