PENINSULA, Ohio — There is much to explore in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. And it is not all recreation. Farms have been making a comeback in the park, thanks to a program called the Countryside Initiative.
"This is one of those things that I knew this is what I wanted to do. And we did what we could to make it happen," said Mike Keleman who, along with his wife Melisa, moved onto the farm last year.
The couple is fulfilling a dream, owning Keleman Point Farm. But their vision didn't include a pandemic, but they are making the best of it.
"That gave us chance to really focus on the info-structure of the farm, cleaning fences, cleaning out barns. Actually, learning goat personalities and hanging out with the herd," Keleman said.
The Keleman Point Farm is special because it's part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Countryside Initiative allows 10 farms to operate on the public land, to preserve and protect the rural landscape
Farmers must follow sustainable farming practices. Keleman's goat herd moves around to prevent over-grazing, while other fields on the 48-acre farm, grow grass and hay for them.
"We are not using chemicals to grow our hay or grass and it is a great thing. And I have lush fields, we have 14 different varieties of grass on this property, so we are doing pretty well," said Kelemen.
A roadside produce stand welcomes park visitors, and it takes Venmo if you don't have cash.
"We have eggs that's in the cooler on the stand."
But the goats steal the show.
"I was just honestly surprised how much people really loved goats," Keleman said.
Now close to a year into it, the couple are happy they decided to start their own farm, and were selected for The Countryside Initiative.
"When you find something, you are good at and you love doing, it's not work, and so far, it is the right decision. I couldn't see me doing anything else, honestly," he said.
In all, there are 10 operating farms in the CVNP. And they do welcome visitors. In fact, the farms attract about 100-thousand visitors a year. You can learn more about them, HERE.