PLYMOUTH TOWNSHIP — Serving food to children is the core focus of about 50 Ashtabula Area City Schools nutrition service workers who got the opportunity to see the details of the farming process at area farms.
The day was organized as Ashtabula Area City Schools were off for an in-service day and Pam Peck, nutrition services director for the school system, put the trip together.
She said the idea stemmed from interaction with the Community Harvest Local Food Hub.
She said the organization encourages a relationship between area schools, businesses and other institutions to create markets for food grown locally.
“Once a month we buy various fruits and vegetables (from local farmers),” Peck said. She thought it would be a good experience for the food workers to experience the farm experience up close and personal.
“It was very interesting. You find there is a lot of work. I have never been on a farm to find what goes into the production of food,” said Luann Morris who works in the Lakeside High School cafeteria.
The workers visited two area farms to experience the “farm to table” experience at Moores Heritage Farm on State Road.
Randall Moores, and his wife Connie, moved to Ashtabula in 2014 and purchased the old family farm his father stopped farming in 1994.
He said a distant relative bought the land to create a farm after serving in the Civil War.
“It has been in the family ever since,” he said.
Randall said he grew up in Willoughby Hills and his wife grew up in Amherst but realized they wanted to live on a farm when they first started dating in college at John Carroll University.
After serving in the military the Moores family had the opportunity to purchase the old family farm and wished to settle down and decided to create a farm concentrating on raising animals for food.
Randall Moores said they grow pigs from “farrow to finish” and also have turkeys, chickens and dairy goats. He said they try and use sustainable and resurgent farming practices.
“We are working with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association,” Randall Moores said.
He also said the Farm Veterans Coalition was helpful in getting their operation off the ground.
He said the farm includes 67 acres with 32 acres designated for raising animals.
“Connie and I both work outside the home,” he said of their careers in education and working for a tree removal company.
Randall Moores said he is using the GI bill to complete a master’s degree in plant health management online from Ohio State University as well.
The workers also visited Red Beet Row in Jefferson Township, Peck said.
She said the seven acre educational farm uses principles of biology to understand the ecological balance of nature and applies those principles to agriculture.
Peck said the workers were able to witness unique ways the farm used vegetation to protect other crops they were growing.
Participants in the event also were served lunch at Moores Heritage Farm with most of the ingredients produced from six area farms, she said.