Spring is in the air, especially at Farms View on Black Oak Ridge Road. A visit to the farm this time of year will get even novice gardeners eager to get their hands dirty. The hardiest annuals and perennials are out front for sale. Hanging baskets of pansies in a rainbow of colors are ready to brighten your porches and patios. The greenhouses are alive with hundreds of sprouts and seedlings. And the barnyard animals are in their pens waiting to delight kids of all ages.
But perhaps the best part about Farms View is that there are no less than five smiling faces waiting to greet you as you enter the open-air farm market.
The Kuehm family farms these 42 acres with pride, passion, and enthusiasm would expect from a family who traces its roots in Wayne back to 1894. Todd, and his sister Dana, are the fourth generation of the family to run the farm.
Todd cares about his customers every bit as much as he cares about his work, the land, and his family’s business.
“We pride ourselves on being real honest with our customers. If it doesn’t taste good, we don’t sell it,” Kuehm said.
He recounts the story of a lifelong customer who purchased two ears of corn and one tomato every day for at least 20 years. That customer passed away a couple of years ago.
“We started growing a new, sweeter variety of corn just before he passed. He got to try the new corn a couple of times before he died and loved it," Kuehm said. "I was just so glad he got to enjoy that corn…I’d rather have a thousand one-dollar customers a week than one customer who spends a thousand dollars a week.”
It’s enough to make you want to be a farmer yourself, but right now Todd has all the help he needs. His children are the fifth generation of Kuehms to work on the farm. His son sowed seeds in the distance as Todd explained his farming philosophy.
“We really use as few chemicals on our crops as possible," Kuehm said.
The Kuehms pride themselves on using minimal pesticides and fungicides and only apply them when absolutely necessary. Clever cultivation methods help to achieve that goal. All of the greenhouses are equipped with a bottom-up watering system, which prevents foliage from getting wet, thus inhibiting fungus growth.
“If you don’t have fungus you don’t need fungicides. For the past three years our strawberries have not been sprayed at all," Kuehm said. "We hope to avoid spraying again this year so we can continue to offer a more natural product to our customers."
The Farms View road stand was first erected on Black Oak Ridge Road in 1969. Years later it was replaced with the market that is there now.
The market is chock full of potted plants and flowers. In a few short weeks, the tables and bins will be stocked with fresh vegetables and herbs.
“I hope to have lettuces and other greens ready for sale by Mother's Day. And this year we’ll have a few new varieties of heirloom tomatoes,” Kuehm said.
Farms View grows 65 different vegetables and herbs. The different varieties are carefully chosen, meticulously cultivated, and thoroughly sampled before being offered for sale. When asked about his predictions for the harvest this year, Kuehm said he always anticipates a good growing season.
“Start with good, strong plants and you’ll get a great product," Kuehm said.
The Farms View market is open 10 months a year from just before Easter until just after Christmas. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Summer hours begin on Father's Day and are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. The farm offers hayrides and pumpkin picking in the fall.