Roadside Ohio: Hann Farms

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Produce, Roadside Ohio

May is definitely my favorite month for Ohio produce, because it means both morels and strawberries are in season – the one (morels) are quite difficult to come by, but strawberries – they are quite plentiful.

So plentiful, indeed, that there are several options for pick your own strawberries. My favorite, hands down, is Hann Farms on the south side of Columbus.

Hann Farms (Columbus, OH)

Hann Farms is located on Lockbourne Road, just north of Rathmell Road. From my part of town (the west side), the easiest way to get there is to take 23S to Rathmell, east on Rathmell to Lockbourne, north on Lockbourne and it’s less than a mile ahead on your right. You have to keep your eyes peeled for the strawberry sign, otherwise it’s pretty easy to miss.

Even though it’s a pick your own field, you still want to make a quick stop at the farm market building to pick up a couple of bags (10 cents each), or to have your own containers weighed before hand. Once you’ve got that out of the way, follow the dirt farm road around to the field and have at it!

Outside of the Farm Market at Hann Farms

They have about an acre of strawberries planted, done as annuals so that they are ready early in the season. There are a few tricks and etiquette points to picking strawberries. First, you don’t want to pick while it’s raining or right after – strawberries don’t keep as long if they’re picked when wet. Second, you want to go before the heat of the day, because with the heat comes the bees – if you, like me, are skittish around bees, late morning is the best time for picking. Third, pick a row that doesn’t have anyone already picking in it – it’s bad form to cross into someone else’s row ahead of them. Make sure you don’t stack them more than 2-3″ high in whatever container you put them in, or they may get bruised.

Strawberry Patch at Hann Farms

Get them home as soon as possible, and into a shallow container and in the fridge as soon as you get home. Remove any bruised berries before storing them. Any berries that you won’t use immediately (within a couple of days) can be frozen – hull them first, and then freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet before moving to a freezer bag for longer term storage. Frozen berries are best for making smoothies or recipes where the strawberries will be cooked.

Fresh Picked Strawberries from Hann Farms

When picking berries, look for ones that are fully red without any white at the bottom or top – once picked, strawberries do not ripen further so you want to make sure you pick the berry at it’s optimal ripeness. Pick by wrapping your fingers and tugging gently. If it doesn’t pull off easily, don’t force the issue – it probably means that the berry needs another day or two to ripen. Try not to trample runners (vines coming out from the strawberry plants) trying to get to a berry that’s out of your reach. Picking berries is hard on the back, so don’t overdo it. Kids love to pick berries, so make a family day out of it and let them do all the work. ;)

Strawberry Plant at Hann Farms

Once you’re done picking, take them back around to the inside of the market to pay. They are $1.49/lb. for pick your own – a full bag of berries (which you don’t want – remember the rule about stacking them no more than 2-3″ high) is about 6-8 lbs. depending. There is about 1 1/2 lbs. in a quart container.

They also have other vegetables that they grow on the farm and other Ohio products for sale in the farm market – later in the season there is much more selection.

Inside the Farm Market at Hann Farms

Be sure to check out their Facebook page – they will post updates about the strawberry availability regularly.

If you’d like to go: Hann Farms, 4600 Lockbourne Rd, Columbus, OH 43207, 614-491-0812

Roadside Ohio: Rhoads Farm Market

Author: swampkitty05  //  Category: Eating Local, Farmer's Market, Produce, Roadside Ohio

I’ve loved buying fruits and veggies from Mrs Rhoads at the North Market (and as of last year, Clintonville and Dublin) Farmers Market for the past few years, with an awareness that her farm was based out of Circleville. It’s funny how one can buy their food at a farmers market, speak directly to the farmer that grows their food, and still have a disconnect between that and the actual farm.

So, like I said, I knew their farm (and their main farm market) was in Circleville, but had no idea what a massive presence they had in the area or the interesting family history behind it. Even to this day, the farm, the market and the nursery are a multi-generational family business. I managed to get down to Circleville to visit the farm and the market last summer, and was super impressed by what I found.

I was expecting a little roadside stand/market, but what I found instead was a state-of-the-art full fledged market, located just down the road from their farmland. Mr. Rhoads was kind enough to take me on a driving tour of their farm, and the best way to describe it is sprawling and extremely diverse. Acres and acres of some of the most beautiful produce you could imagine.

Outside of Rhoads Farm Market

I was there near the end of last summer (I’m getting around to posting this now, at the beginning of their growing season), so it was right in the middle of peach season. I had never had a perfect peach until last summer. You know, the kind where you can smell how sweet and juicy it’s going to be? Last year was a fantastic year for peaches, and Rhoads had the best of the bunch. They were so good last year that I drove to Circleville in the middle of the week so that I wouldn’t have to wait until the next Saturday until I could have some more. And they didn’t let me down, with their peaches being front and center the second you walked into the market.

Farm Fresh Peaches

Last year wasn’t the best year for tomatoes, but even Rhoads’ offerings were solid on that front.

Tomatoes

I love melon, but can never commit to an entire one of any kind – I love that they offered cut melon for those of us who aren’t trying to feed a large number of people.

Cut Melon

Still, if whole melons were what you were looking for, they had those too.

Watermelon

In addition to whatever seasonal produce is available (for instance, during this time of years it’s some of their fantastic strawberries), they also offer a refrigerator full of Ohio meats, cheeses, dairy, and other farm fresh goodies from around the state.

Meat and Dairy

Along with a full selection of local to Ohio canned and dry goods:

Canned Goods

Are other veggies that they grow on their farm that are a bit more perishable

Veggies

Beans and Potatoes

along with produce from other parts of the country (ensuring that no matter what time of year you visit, there will always be something available).

Peaches

Cantaloupe

It’s amazing what is right down the street from us (a half hour away in Circleville, actually) if you just take the time to look. At the very least, take a second to introduce yourself to Mrs. Rhoads the next time you’re at the North Market Farmers Market – she’s a really nice person, and loves to talk about her farm and the things they grow on it. I encourage you to support local farms, and check out the great food that’s being grown in your own backyard. I hope that this is the first of many roadside farm stands that I profile this summer.

If you’d like to go: Rhoads Farm Market, 1051 SR 56 East, Circleville, OH 43113, 740-474-2028