CANTON, Ohio – The 12th annual Stark County Farm Bureau drive-it-yourself tour will be held Oct. 7 from noon to 6 p.m.
The free tour will consist of five stops: A & J Farms, Kridler Gardens, Motts Greenhouse, Park Farms/St. Peters site, and Raber Dairy Farms. All sites are located north of Louisville on state Route 44 and east of Louisville on state Route 153.
Poultry production. In the mid-1980s, Anthony and James Pastore decided to start raising their own chickens to supply Park Farms. In 1989, they purchased farm land in Marlboro Township to start building the chicken houses they needed.
At this time, A & J Farms was formed to oversee the care and cropping of the farmland and also manage the manure generated by the chickens. Today, A & J Farms grow 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans, which are used for their own chicken feed.
Gardeners’ delight. The original 10 acres of Kridler Gardens started as a botanic garden in 1985, when owner Barrie Kridler moved back to Homeworth after a 20-year residence in Texas.
Sixty-five additional acres were added to the Homeworth operation when Gotts Little Acres Campground was acquired in 1990. At that time, the greenhouses, gift shop and full nursery line were added.
Thousands of trees, shrubs, and perennials have been incorporated into the grounds in order to showcase their landscape value. Thirteen greenhouses complete the operation with specialities including: 500 varieties of hosta, rare trees, shrubs, perennials and garden-related items.
In October, the Christmas shop opens to complete the season.
Apple cider. At Motts Greenhouse and cider mill, the cider press business dates back to Jacob J. Schmucker who started the cider press around 1874. In 1976, Glen Motts purchased the cider mill and greenhouse from Virgil Miller.
In 1986, the greenhouse expanded by adding 10 new small greenhouses to meet the high demand of their customers. The 1995 fall cider season brought on some new changes that were made by the Food and Drug Administration. To comply with these new changes, the management at Motts decided to pasteurize the cider.
More chickens. Park Farms was established in 1945 with 50 chickens as a “dress-while-you-wait” poultry store. Today, the company is state-of-the-art and respected as one of the largest poultry processors in northeast Ohio.
Dairy farm. The Raber Dairy Farms is a family business, run by Dwight, Bruce and mother, Lela. The dairy farm has been in the family for approximately 75 years. They milk 330 Holsteins with another 400 replacement heifers. They crop farm 1,000 acres, consisting of 500 acres of corn, 300 acres of hay and the remaining 200 acres are planted in soybeans and wheat.
There will be many displays and demonstrations at all locations, such as car seat inspection, Ident-A-Kid, fire safety, life flight, antique tractor club and bake sales. Refreshments will be available at all stops.
For more information contact the Farm Bureau office at 330-456-4889.