About Our Farm & Philosophy
The idea behind Schooner Farms was to take our little 20 acre corner of the world and expand our use of it by raising chemical free pick your own raspberries and blackberries in 2009. We already had a natural pond and lake management company, Inspired By Nature, established at the site. The focus of Inspired By Nature is to encourage pond owners to care for the water resources naturally. We do not use any synthetic chemistry at all on our farm. This notion of land stewardship and conservation was really the incentive of trudging forward into the berries. honey and now a CSA.
In 2010 we also began a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) garden. The response has been tremendous. We have had the opporunity to meet so many wonderful and like minded people. Naturally, we picked a rough year weather wise to begin but it ought to make the future garden season seem less difficult! In 2010 Schooner Farms CSA grew food for 60 families. In 2012 we had expanded our memebrship to 80. Our goal to keep the "Community" in our CSA program means that we do not wish to be like a subscription produce farm. We want to keep the "Community" in our CSA. We want you to know the farmer growing your food, we want you to feel like you are a part of our farm and to do that we chose to limit our membership to 30 in 2013. Along with our produce we also have 10 beehives that we harvest raw honey from for sale. Our three ponds are managed naturally and a full of healthy fish. The ponds provide the irrigation to our fields.
Our goal is to be able to offer classes on a variety of topics, such as: beekeeping, canning, organic gardening, nature crafts, land ethics and much more. We both enjoy learning and sharing with others - that connection to like minded people is something we cherish.
If you are in Weston, Oh please stop in! We'd love to show you around the farm!
Schooner Farms & Inspired By Nature from above
Posted by Don Schooner :: Thursday, March 2 :: 6:18am
Boy, this weather has us itching to get out in the gardens! As many of you already know, we will not be doing the CSA for a few years. Not because we don't like it or it was unsuccessful but because we are moving in other directions. Diversity is very important to us and is part of our philosophy. Due to our diversity we simply can't do it all and do it well. So we had to take a hard look at where we want to be in 5 years.
Our main business is Inspired By Nature, a natural pond and lake restoration company. We have been helping pond owners in our region for 21 years. Land Stewardship and Land Ethics are central to our mission at the farm. Our gardening methods are unique and viewed as hokey by some but the proof is in the pudding and we have shown that. The hugelkultur mounds have proven themselves over and over. When you can grow food for 40 families in an 8o foot mound for 6 weeks - it speaks for itself. We like to do weird things. We love to learn and experiment. Don is passionate about permaculture and we want to create a permaculture food forest. The food forest will take several years of intense planning and planting to come to fruition. A food forest is permanent agriculture, where you have a wide variety of fruit trees, nuts, berries, perennial vegetables, herbs, annual vegetables, and more. The plantings are done in "guilds" where they support and benefit each other - companion planting. Over the course of a season due to the diversity one can harvest all sorts of wonderful food all grown naturally and truly experience seasonal eating. The food forest is our legacy to leave to our community. We desire future generations to be able to experience picking fruit fresh off the vine, to learn that you do not need to use copious amounts of synthetic chemistry to grow food.
To create the food forest will require a great deal of time and we have always told people - we are NOT vegetable producers. We are more like a giant garden.We will also be expanding on our u-pick berries; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and a few others. We will never be without a vegetable garden, only now we will just be sharing it with our staff and volunteers. There are several wonderful CSA's in our area that concentrate on vegetable production - this is what they do and they do it well. The funny thing about our fellow CSA Farmers is that we are friendly to each other, offer support and are don't have to be competitive with each other. What a beautiful thing! I will miss the CSA terribly. I love the weekly interactions with our members and honestly, our members have become like family to us. We are incredibly grateful to our members. Many of our CSA members were with us since the beginning seven seasons ago. How do you not miss that connection? Stop out and see us for u-pick berries, workshops or a tour of the farm. The lavender labyrinth is always a lovely walk or check out the serpent mound. We will have several events coming up over the season so stay tuned!
If you are interested in a local CSA, check out localharvest.org for CSA Farms in our region. There are more and more popping up all the time. A few that we are friends with are -
Shared Legacy - they have a drop off at the Perrysburg Farmer's Market
Friendship Farms - near Whitehouse - lovely people!
Rheims Farms - they have a drop off at the Downtown Farmer's Market.
Posted by Don Schooner :: Thursday, January 5 :: 9:35am
Looks like winter is upon us BUT that doesn't mean you can't still visit the farm! Amanda will be having a Winter Series for Yoga and Mike will be offering his beekeeping classes soon too! Schooner and I are plotting out a plan for 2017 - stay tuned!
Winter 2017 Beekeeping Classes
all classes begin at 9 and end around 1
$25/person each class
Feb. 11th - Beginners Beekeeping
March 11th - Beginners Beekeeping
March 18th - Advanced Beekeeping 1
April 15th - Advanced Beekeeping 2
Winter Saturday Series Yoga
all classes begin at 9 am
to sign up click on square below
Posted by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner :: Friday, December 16 :: 9:12am
The weather looks to be nasty tomorrow. Amanda has rescheduled the class to Dec. 31st at 9 am. This is for registered participants only as the class is sold out.
Posted by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner :: Tuesday, September 27 :: 10:12am
I always get a little sad when our final week arrives. We enjoy seeing you on a weekly basis and will miss our conversations. When we started the CSA years ago, we had no idea where this journey would take us. Every year is unique in it’s own way but similar in others. 2016 was a hot dry year but we had a wonderful harvest through the summer.
Our garden staff and volunteers were amazing! Schooner and I cannot thank our crew enough for all their hard work and determination. 90 degree plus days out in the gardens were tough. The farm always attracts amazing people and this season was no different, whether it is staff, volunteers, members, visitors or just someone stopping by to see what we do. Schooner and I are very grateful for these interactions, these crossing of paths - you just never know where these connections may lead.
On behalf of everyone at Schooner Farms I wish to say THANK YOU for being a member of the 2016 CSA. We appreciate your support and could not do what we do without you. Thanks you!
Here’s the thing…
Here at the farm we love experimenting, learning, failing, succeeding, discovering and enjoying every day as it comes. We firmly believe there is something to learn everyday. Schooner and I both say we have not “worked” for many years. I think this is why the farm has a positive vibration and we experience all sorts of weird, wild and fabulous stuff. Truly. We do.
Our goal is to leave the farm better than we found it. We want to make a difference on our little 20 acres of sunshine. Our goal is to create a place where people can come to learn about and be in awe of what the land has to offer. The simple act of picking an apple, or pulling a carrot out of the ground is something everyone should have the opportunity to experience. Our goal and legacy is to create a permaculture “Food Forest” where a wide variety of food can be grown abundantly. Food growing in harmony with nature - imagine that! Our food forest will have dozens of different apple trees, pear, plum, peach, nuts, grapes, berries, herbs, perennial vegetables and many other plants. Obviously, this is a HUGE undertaking and will take several years to come to fruition. Once it is established, you will be able to ride through the forest and harvest a wide variety of produce. We also plan to expand on the berries. We added 300 blueberry plants this year and will add another 300 next. Red Raspberries will return to the farm along with a few other types of berries. 2017 will see us trying out about 10 types garlic for wholesale and retail clients.
As you can see - we have pretty lofty plans. We love being diverse and having the ability to try new things. We have had to make a difficult decision in order to facilitate our goals. We are going to take a break from the CSA for a few years. We don’t have enough time or staff to do all the things we want and need to do. Schooner and I are both 47 and want to be able to see the food forest become a reality and see people enjoy it. Despite Schooner’s boyish looks, we ain’t getting any younger. In a few years, once the food forest is producing we will revamp the CSA idea and create a new program designed around the berries and food forest. Granted, this is 4 or 5 years down the road but in the grand scheme of things 4 or 5 years is nothing compared to leaving our farm with a strong land ethic and a gateway for people to discover how amazing nature is. Not to mention, where their food comes from and how it can be grown without synthetics. Our farm is not the norm and we like it that way. Long after we are gone, we hope the farm continues to make people shake their heads and say, “what do they do there?”
Thank you for being part of the journey. Many of you have been with us since the beginning. The CSA has been such a blessing to our lives. We have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and make new friends. We will miss our weekly interactions but hope you will still come out to the farm for berries, classes, events or just to visit and see what is happening. We have always told our CSA members - you are part of this farm and we mean that.
The Staff at Schooner Farms
Posted by Don Schooner or Becky White - Schooner :: Wednesday, August 24 :: 7:32am
Sadly, we have had to cancel our Honey Harvest Class due to lack of participants.