The growing season at Ohio City Farm is just over two months away, and this week, farmers with Refugee Response are starting to plant the seeds for the ninth year on the six-acre farm—offering up the harvests to more than 20 local restaurants and members of the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
"We were hoping to start the seeds [last] week, but it's been so cold that we delayed it," says Rachel Ramos, Ohio City Farm's marketing coordinator.
Ohio City FarmThe farm’s CSA program provides members 20 weekly produce bags. Membership options are available in two sizes: a half share for $15 a week ($300 for the season), which include eight to 10 items; or a full share for $25 a week ($500 for the season), which includes double the produce quantity, plus a “couple extras,” says Ramos.
“Each week, we fill their shares with a selection of things that are in season on the farm,” explains Ramos. “In general, a half share is good for a single person or couple who don’t cook at home every often, while a full share is ideal for families who cook at home frequently.”
Starting around May 31, the season will kick off with plenty of leafy greens (like mustard and collard greens), kale, swiss chard, and spinach. As the season goes on, customers can expect tomatoes; peppers; root vegetable like carrots, parsnips and turnips; and season-enders like summer and winter squashes, according to Ramos. The season runs through October 11.
“Our CSA follows the growing season, so each week our members can look forward to a bag bursting with the freshest of the season’s bounty,” she says. “From early spring greens to colorful summer tomatoes and hearty autumn squash, we want to delight our customers with their seasonal favorites—and maybe a few new surprises along the way.”
Ohio City Farm
(Bridge Ave. and W. 24th St.)
New this year, the farm is offering honey, harvested from three to four hives (up from two hives last year) managed by Youth Bee Works. One of the nine hoop houses has been converted into a greenhouse, and the farm also got a cooler at the end of last year. The greenhouse and cooler will allow farmers to harvest and store the produce more efficiently.
Also new is a tandoor oven, in which farm employees will be baking fresh naan bread to sell to customers.
Another new offering will be fresh and dried herbs, with one hoop house dedicated entirely to rosemary. Other herbs grown include parsley, different types of basil, and oregano. Ramos says the CSA bags will include the herbs and at least one batch of honey this season. “We want the bags each week to be full of things they are excited to eat,” she says.
Ohio City Farm's workers from The Refugee Empowerment Agricultural Program Additionally, since the farmers—resettled refugees—come from all over the world, Ramos says Ohio City Farm grows more exotic produce like Thai basil, Thai chili peppers, and Asian long beans.
“We grow some really neat things,” Ramos says. “We have so many people coming to the farm with so many skills, including agricultural skills. To have them come here and put their knowledge to use on the farm is just so great.”
Refugee Response uses the farm as an employment resource for resettled refugees in Northeast Ohio. The farm currently employs seven resettled refugees, including the farm manager; they hail from Burma, Bhutan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and speak four languages in addition to English. More than 300 volunteers helped keep the farm operational last year—producing a total of 38,625 pounds of food.
Ramos says the CSA program is already about half-full, but people still have time to sign up.
In addition to the CSA program, Ohio City Farm runs a produce stand during the growing season. Sign up for the farm’s newsletter to find out when the stand is open and what is available.