Stacy’s Family Farm planted its roots in the Mid-Ohio Valley in 1899 when Albert and Lina Frost Stacy purchased the 24 acre tract of land that still encompasses the Stacy Family Farm today.
“The river bottom ground I grew up farming (Oak Grove Farm) is very productive and grows fruit and vegetables well. The farm we purchased (Reno Farm) is great due to the sandy loam soil which is great for our strawberries and other crops,” co-owner Todd Stacy said.
Through the years, the Stacy Family Farm has seen generational turnovers, but the farm has always remained in the family as they have farmed various crops including pumpkins, blueberries, squash – and of course, strawberries (although Stacy mentions that while everyone else loves them, after 20 years, he’s burnt out).
There is something about planting a small plant or seed into the ground, taking care of it, making an end product, and then someone being able to enjoy it when it’s ready.
“I enjoy farming. There is something about planting a small plant or seed into the ground, taking care of it, making an end product, and then someone being able to enjoy it when it’s ready,” Stacy said. “ I also enjoy farming with my family and watching my child grow up on the farm. We all have disagreements from time to time, but the good days well outweigh the bad.”
According to Stacy, the farm is truly a family operation with every member of the family doing their part to keep the business going.
“My mom and dad are the only “full time” people on the farm. Bill, my dad, retired from his off-the-farm job about four years ago and farms full time along with my mom, Janet. Me and my wife (Aimee) still work off the farm to maintain insurance for ourselves and our daughter (Hannah) but we fulfill important roles in the operations,” he said.
During picking season, his wife and mom focus on running the stands, maintaining the books, paying the bills, and managing employees. His sister, Amanda, has moved from the Marietta area for her job, but brings her husband and children back to visit and help on the farm as often as they can.
Me and my dad do the majority of the labor day-to-day work on the farm.
“Me and my dad do the majority of the labor day-to-day work on the farm. My brother, Tyler, wants to come back to the farm. He is a welder through the 168 Local and works at different places in the area. He’s always been there to help when we needed extra labor or had big jobs that needed to get done, but he’s wanting to take a more active role in the farm which we appreciate and welcome.
While farming runs in Stacy’s blood, he has also spent time perfecting the science of farming through formal education on the subject. Stacy is a 2010 graduate of Marietta High School where he met his wife. After high school, he attended the Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute and graduated from there in 2012. Stacy and his wife both maintain jobs off of the farm as well and rely on additional resources to keep the farm running to its full potential.
“We use a wide variety of resources. We have friends who grow the same crops as us – we all share ideas or experiences to get through hurdles. We also use experts such as doctors or extension agents through multiple different universities who help us,” he said.
Along with changing hands, the farm has seen changes both good and bad that enhance the rich history of its time in this area.
He worked hard and smart to get us where we are today. We started with strawberries in 1995 and have been slowly adding crops as years have passed.
“After a rough time in the 80s, when farming and the financial situation were a little rough, my dad purchased the home farm back and a few pieces of equipment back after a bankruptcy. He worked hard and smart to get us where we are today. We started with strawberries in 1995 and have been slowly adding crops as years have passed,” he said.
However, the changes that the farm has seen are one of the best parts for Stacy. While working with family and seeing the seasons affect the farm, Stacy enjoys all aspects of farming and watching the vision for the farm evolve. According to Stacy, the ideas surrounding the farm change daily, but that depends on all sorts of factors.
“Starting with bare soil in the spring or summer, planting a small seed or plant, then watching it grow and produce a product that so many people can enjoy is one of the most rewarding parts of this job,” he said.
Growing the physical farm for continued enjoyment has been a challenge for the Stacys. In the past, they remained limited on what they could produce simply because of the land available. The new farm has given them the opportunity for expansion into new types of crops and growing processes. Additionally, the Stacys take pride in using as many local items to keep their farm going as possible.
I hope people always come back for the fun they’ve had on the farm – the memories that can be made and cherished for years to come when picking strawberries or working them up to eat.
“We try to use as many small or local businesses as we can. From car and truck tires, fertilizer, seeds, and anything in between, we use local materials when we can,” Stacy said.
Stacy’s commitment to local seems to work both ways as the community comes out in large every year to participate in the u-pick strawberry season at the farm.
“I hope people always come back for the fun they’ve had on the farm – the memories that can be made and cherished for years to come when picking strawberries or working them up to eat. Then, hopefully it is because the strawberries taste so good and they are returning for the flavor,” Stacy said. “From supporting us in the purchasing of our Reno farm, to bringing us food, jams, etc of things they have made from our products – we love all of our customers.”
The support from the community and the ability to really integrate his family into the area and the farm is what builds the basis of the farm and its mission.
“It’s always awesome to know that all the hard work we did together works out and that we meet some of the goals we set earlier in the year. Then watching my parents having a smile on their face watching their grandkids grow up and start helping on the farm is awesome, too,” Stacy said.
Stacy Family Farm is located just outside of Marietta and welcomes visitors. For those interested in visiting, their Facebook keeps the most up-to-date hours and information about the u-pick seasons.