Hearthstone Berry Farm
Elderberries | Blackberries | Peaches | Black Currants | Asian Pears | Honey
Pick Your Own
Nova, Ohio

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Hearthstone Berry Farm is a fruit farm in Nova, Ohio.  Hearthstone was originally part of an 85 acre dairy farm.  In 2008, 34 acres were in Timothy hay and 12 acres of lowland woods grew on the north property line. Over the past 8 years, we have planted peaches, blackberries, black currants and elderberries. Elderberries were planted in a trial plot as part of a SARE grant in 2010. The bulk of the farm is still in hay, but now the front six acres are in orchard and we have a half-acre pond for irrigation.

Our goal is to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for the contiguous counties in a manner that respects the environment and is economically sustainable.  Hearthstone will take ten years to bring into full production.  Drop by for a jar of honey this year, blackberries the next; enjoy an afternoon in the country and come watch us grow.

Produce From Hearthstone Berry Farm
The elderberry trial planting is bearing full crops now and we have expanded the planting. We grow over one dozen varieties and plan to continue to do research on varieties, pruning and weed control. The elderberries are netted to keep out the birds so you can easily pick pounds of elderberries in a short amount of time. Ripening season varies from late July well into August.

Another less common fruit we are growing is black currant. Our black currant planting now contains all seven varieties that are legal to grow in Ohio (our state has a quarantine against black currant, so only a few varieties are legal to grow). Black currants are not a productive plant; we only get a few hundred pounds each year but will keep on increasing our planting as long as we continue to sell our every year. We have a small number of red and white currants as well as gooseberries. They are part of a propagation block that will be used to generate more plants when we have time to expand. Until then, their small harvest is available on a first come basis. Black currents ripen in June with reds and whites close behind. The gooseberries usually ripen with the elderberries.

We do have large planting of blackberries. Varieties ripen July through August. The last two winters have not been kind to the blackberries (or peaches) so the harvest will again be limited.

My wife has run a CSA with our produce for the last few years. We sell a limited number of shares that we distribute from our home in North Ridgeville. Look for Hearthstone Berry Farm on Facebook for more information.

Because my wife and I have full time jobs picking is limited to Thursdays and Saturdays by appointment. Contact us for more information.


Hours
Closed for winter.
Saturdays and Thursday by appointment mid-June through August.
We are closed Sundays to spend time with our family.
If you are looking for honey products, contact us for more information.

Directions
Hearthstone Berry Farm is located in Ashland County, 1064 Township Road 126, one mile north of route 224 just west of Nova.  Look for the old pole barn and peach trees. We are 15 miles from Ashland, 30 minutes from Medina, 50 minutes from Westlake.

Currently, we do not have a dedicated phone. eMail is the best method of contact. My wife keeps more timely information posted on our Facebook page.

About the Farm
The farm was purchased in 2008.  It came with a telephone pole, a broken-down pole barn and many piles of rotten hay and assorted debris. The fields had been in hay for several decades. 

The initial goal was to plant fruit tree and berry trials to determine consumer tastes and the ability of the farm to support a pick your own operation.

Locally Grown Food
How far has your food travelled?  Answering this question raises the question of how sustainable our food supply is when we regularly transport produce cross-country every month of the year.  When fuel prices spiked in 2008 we saw just how much our supplies depended on long distance transportation.  Our local farm communities do grow produce for the local market, but generally have a difficult time connecting to the consumer. Consider actions you can take to support the local economy, reduce dependance on shipping and help grow a more sustainable food system.

*Find a local producer
I know many farmers and markets, and I know how much time and money they spend trying to market themselves to the public. But marketing costs money and many operations are too small to effectively connect with a large population of consumers. Make an effort as a consumer to seek out local food sources. There are many small CSAs and farm markets in the county that lack the marketing to find you, so please take the time to do some shopping to find them.

*Eat in season.
This may be the easiest habit to change and also the most diffucult.  No one expects you to live on dried lima bean and prune soup in the winter.  However, for much of the year, menus can be arranged to take advantage of locally grown produce.  For instance, with some preplanning, winter squash can be stored into fall and winter.  Also, some growers are making use of high tunnels (giant cold frames) to get fields producing earlier.  These high tunnels will put locally grown produce on the shelf earlier in the spring and keep it coming late into the fall. Seek out new recipes that "eat in season", taking advantage of local food.

*Plan ahead, shop frequently.
Eating locally should also change food shopping and cooking habits. Plan meals ahead of time. This might be difficult at first, but you will find that a bit of preplanning will actually take the edge off of a normally hectic schedule. Shop at several of your local markets frequently, once or twice a week. You can pick up several days worth of fresh produce to make the meals you had already planned out.

 

Recipes and Tips

Handout from Sustainability Forum