Friendly-looking alpacas at Skylar Brook Farm will welcome visitors during the 2022 Wayne County Farm Tour.
Rittman Orchards is ready for pumpkin and apple picking and more during the farm tour. Visit the “What’s Ripe” page of Rittman Orchard’s web site to see varieties in the market, and what’s available for u-picking, the weekend schedule and what’s coming soon at rittmanorchards.com/whats-ripe/.
The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society will have rides during the farm tour and offers rides on Saturdays in October. Visit www.orrvillerailroad.com.
Wayne County Farm Bureau’s 2022 Farm Tour brings visitors this fall to the northeast quadrant of the picturesque county with stops including Dalton, Orrville and Marshallville.
The annual “drive-it-yourself” tour is noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 and winds through Milton, Chippewa, Green and Baughman townships with seven stops. Each year, the tour focuses on a different part of the county. The first stop is 3D Meats off of U.S. 30 in Dalton and the tour ends with Stop No. 7, which is Walnut Hill Grain in Sterling.
All stops are open both days except for Walnut Hill Grain, which is only open on Saturday, Oct. 8. The tour is educational and fun and activities and food are offered at each location.
“We know that more and more people are removed from agriculture and understanding where their food comes from,” said Lindsay (Shoup) Tournoux, organization director for the Ohio Farm Bureau – Ashland, Medina, Summit and Wayne counties. “We hope visitors use this opportunity to visit local farms and talk to the families and employees to educate themselves. And, of course, to have some fun too!”
All seven stops highlight family-owned farming operations as well as ag-related businesses, according to a booklet detailing the tour, which is available at locations throughout the county. The handbook also is available online along with Mapquest driving directions at wayne.ofbf.org.
“The scenery in these townships is beautiful this time of year,” writes Wayne County Farm Bureau President Marlene Eick in the farm tour booklet. “The gently rolling hills provide a picturesque landscape. Just driving these roads is relaxing and restful.”
She reminds motorists to remain alert for slower vehicles such as horse-drawn buggies, bicyclists and farm equipment, as they drive over hillcrests and curves, which can block one’s vision.
Tournoux said the farm tour has been an annual offering for more than 30 years. She said the bureau tells farms to expect 1,000 to 2,000 visitors over the course of the weekend. Numbers vary depending upon the weather and other events going on in the area that weekend.
“Our host farms sacrifice a lot of effort, time and money to prepare their farms for the public,” Tournoux wrote in an email to The DGKN. “Some of them may see a monetary benefit if they have a retail product to offer. Those that do not mention that they view this as their contribution to the agricultural education effort and to the industry as a whole. Others say that they use this as their motivation to clean up their farm and work on projects that they’ve intended to work on for years. :)”
The farm tour stops are:
1. 3D Meats, 14740 Lincoln Way E, Dalton, owned by Logan and Elizabeth Rohr and operated by family members, will offer “behind the scenes” tours for visitors to learn about meat processing and will be offering their own pulled pork during the tour. The Rohr family has been farming in Wayne County for three generations and almost all of the beef comes from the Rohr farm and pork comes from two local farmers. The retail farm market offers a variety of fresh and frozen meat, produce, lunch meat and cheese. 3D also offers custom harvest and processing of beef, pork, bison, sheep and goats.
2. Skylar Brook Farm, 12853 Bair Road, Orrville, owned and operated by Dave and Christy Forrer and Andrew Wenzel is a 35-acre farm that produces evergreen landscape nursery trees, Christmas trees, alpacas, and alpaca fiber products. During the farm tour, a wagon will provide rides through the tree fields. Attendees can check out tree planting and harvesting equipment and visit 14 Huacaya alpacas. The farm will have wreath-making demonstrations, and fall grapevine wreaths will be available in the farm store, along with alpaca products. The farm will host Yoder’s Kettle Corn and Fresh Squeezed Lemonade for purchase as well as homemade ice cream made by a 1942 John Deere engine.
3. Orrville Railroad Heritage Society, 145 Depot St., Orrville, was founded in 1978 by Robert Bixler, Howard Wade, Roger Scott family and others. The Roger Scott family and members of the Wade family continue to lead the organization. The museum and railyard focuses on educating visitors. During the farm tour, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the Depot museum, view an antique tractor and farm equipment display and purchase pork sandwiches from Patrick Farms. A separate railyard display on the southern edge of Orrville, 2174 S Crownhill Road, will offer a petting zoo, train rides and displays of vintage rail equipment.
Anna Davidson, chairman of the Orrville Railroad Heritage Society, said this is the museum and railyard’s first time on the farm tour. Judge Smith Orr brought the railroad to Orrville to meet the needs of area livestock, produce and water.
During the Farm Tour, Oct. 8 and 9, train rides in open air car #501 and caboose #330 will run as predicated by demand. The ride will be approximately 20 minutes long. Ride tickets for this day are available only at the DABO/ORHS rail yard and are not available online. All ticket prices for Car #501 and Caboose #330 are $10 each. The locomotive jump seat will be $20. First come, first served. Train rides continue through the month 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Oct. 15, 22 and 29. Boarding begins 10 minutes prior to departure. The trains will run rain or shine.
Visit www.orrvillerailroad.com for more information about fall rides, special caboose rate and booking tickets online.
4. Bristol Dairy, 6818 Coal Bank Road, Marshallville, will have dairy vendors, milkshakes or ice cream, a food trailer and a western shop trailer during the tour. The Douglass family has been in the dairy industry for seven generations and milk cows at three locations in Wayne County with 70 employees, as well as countless others who perform custom work such as heifer raising, silage harvesting and nutrient application. Crops grown include corn, alfalfa and cover crops.
5. Rittman Orchards and Farm Market, 13548 Mt. Eaton Road, N, Doylestown, is one of the area’s oldest fruit farms, functioning since 1922. The Vodraska family purchased the property from the Klopfenstein family in 2004 and replanted orchards, constructed a new farm market building and added cold storage and a cidery. Family members help out with all aspects of the operation. Chris and Amanda Vodraska head up the orchard operation. Their 4-year-old daughter, Abbie, helps with small chores. Chris’ father, Dale, helps with tractor work, and Chris’ mother, Peg, takes care of baking, bookkeeping and fruit sorting. Chris’ brother, Matt, is in charge of Bent Ladder, which is a newer addition to the farm and includes making hard ciders and wines out of the apples and grapes that they grow.
During the farm tour, the orchard plans to have at least apple and pumpkin picking available as well as the farm market. True Roots BBQ will be onsite and Bent Ladder’s tasting room will be open. Live music will be available at 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
6. Stoller Organic Dairy, 10451 Eby Road, Sterling, is owned and operated by Scott and Charlene Stoller, their children and Scott’s brother, “Uncle Dave.” Scott’s great-grandfather originally moved to the 250-acre home farm and purchased the farm in 1913. The farm has been in the Riggenbach family since then. In 1996, Scott and Charlene and their family moved to the farm and farmed with uncle George Riggenbach Jr. Many of the original buildings remain with the house and barn dating back to the 1840s. In 2001, the land was certified organic. The cows have been certified organic since 2003 when the farm joined Organic Valley, which markets their milk. In 2014, Stollers’ Organic Dairy was born. They milk 300 cows year round and farm 1,280 acres.
During the farm tour, the family invites visitors to experience a slice of life on a family farm: check out the straw mow, tunnels and forts and play in a grain bin of wheat and ride the big old barn rope swing. Enjoy a train ride around the farm or take a hayride our through the pastures. On both days of the tour, Old Carolina pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and milkshakes from Orr Valley Creamery will be offered. On Sunday only, Awakening Coffee Company will offer various drinks, including hot chocolate and chai tea.
7. Walnut Hill Grain, 6113 Sterling Road, Sterling, is the final stop on this year’s Wayne County Farm Tour and is only open for the tour on Saturday, Oct. 9. Walnut Hill Grain is owned by Nelson and Twyla Horst and Kevin and Jewell Horst, of Shelby, and operated by Dave and Luanna Dotterer and their son and daughter-in-law Jon and Lydia Dotterer. Dave’s father moved to Wayne County in 1950 and dairied a few miles south of the location. He bought the farm at a sheriff’s sale. When they opened the doors of what is presently the feed warehouse, the family discovered they had a lot of work to do. The warehouse was packed floor to ceiling with old tires. The field behind the shop was also used, illegally, as a tire dump, according to information provided in the farm tour booklet.
Walnut Hill Grain buys and receives grain (corn and soybeans) at the facility, sells Walnut Hill brand bagged feed and animal supplies, and the family also does their own grain farming and custom combining.
Walnut Hill Gran is under construction to accommodate the growing business. Visitors are asked to be careful and observe marked off areas. Also, depending on the weather, the business could be receiving grain during the tour so traffic may be heavy with large equipment such as tractors, wagons, semis and trailer. During the farm tour, a Tupperware consultant will be onsite hosting a warehouse sale with 20-50 percent off regular prices. A Chick-Fil-A truck will be on site 12-7 p.m. Saturday as well.