Here in the Mid-Ohio Valley we are fortunate to be surrounded by a rich agricultural community. While some cities have to bring in food from zip-codes away, much of the produce found at our local farmers markets is grown just a few miles outside of town. We enjoyed meeting the growers behind the greens this summer – here are two of the familiar faces you’ll find at the farmers market.
A Growing Family
Fagan’s Farm is owned and operated by Tom Fagan and his wife, Kate. However, when I went to the Fagan’s Farm table at the Farmer’s Market on Front Street, it was Linda Fagan I got to speak with, not Tom or Kate. As it happens, Tom and Kate were at home, having just welcomed another baby into their growing family.
The Fagans have been operating their farm, which is located just about an hour north of Lower Salem, for nine years now, and they have been bringing products to farmer’s markets for close to twenty years. Like so many MOV farmers, the Fagans are quick to note that they try to stay away from chemicals whenever possible.The Fagan’s Farm table was filled with amazing squashes of various kinds when I talked to Linda. Along with pumpkins, there were some lovely spaghetti squashes and butternut squashes. There were a couple I was not familiar with, however, and one in particular caught my eye. It was a little, round, white squash that looked sort of looked like an acorn squash. I asked Linda what it was. “It’s a kind of acorn squash,” she said. “It’s called the mashed potato and it’s a new variety they’re trying this year.” I asked her if it lived up to its name like the spaghetti squash does, and she said it comes out creamy for sure.
Along with all of the squashes, the Fagans also grow many kinds of flowers. They sell hanging baskets in the spring and mums in the fall, and they had happy sunflowers on the table when I visited. But that’s still not all! The Fagans also raise pastured chickens, and they sell beef and pork, too.I asked Linda what she wanted to make sure readers knew, and she said to report that Fagan’s Farm often gets passed. “It’s at the end of a really long drive,” she said. As you’re traveling Route 821, be sure you don’t drive by!
A Farmer All His Life
Not long after I moved to Marietta, I discovered the still mostly hidden world that lies around the Devola Dam. Walking along River Road is a great way to introduce someone to Marietta life. On the left, you are following the Muskingum River as it passes by houses nestled on the shores. On the right, you pass farm after farm. Then you pass Putnam Water Corporation, which is not quite as aesthetically pleasing, but then you get back to farms.It is back in this somewhat ignored area of Marietta that Paul Barth works his five-acre farm. Based on his booth at the Farmer’s Market on Front Street, you would not believe that he produces so much on just five acres. When I spoke to him, he had baskets of tomatoes, potatoes, and beautiful peppers.
I asked Paul how he had gotten into farming. He smiled and said, “I’ve been a farmer all his life.” The farm in Devola got started in 1991, and not long afterwards, Paul started hitting farmers’ markets. Twenty-six years later, he is still going strong.
All you have to do is visit Paul’s tables to know that he is an expert farmer, but I wanted to know what he would tell people about farming. He thought about it for awhile and said, “I just like watching things grow.” I would love watching things grow, too, if I had the kind of farming success Paul enjoys.