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The Peters’ son, featured in a widely distributed restaurant guide, had a full-page photo with the story of this family’s central Ohio restaurant and their farm’s local food production.

New Realities to Making Dreams Come True

Peters Shares His Wisdom.

Not only does it make you feel better when you meet others who have a passion for farming – both people who want to improve their ability to farm and farmers who are successful – it also helps you see your own vision more clearly. If you want to farm, remember that perseverance is an occupational requirement.

Kent Peters of Black Creek Heritage Farm in central Ohio thinks that his future as a part-time farmer with his wife is becoming both more challenging and also more viable. The market for local food is strong, a fact that also drove his recent purchase of a restaurant that now features local foods. Kent’s is a complex, multi-layered business dream that includes developing the farm as a destination site, on-farm retail, and reliance on bio-diesel and other alternative energy sources. He understands his future as a farmer depends on his being able to learn much more about how to plant, nurture, and harvest his farm products.

Kent Peters understands that the family Dream (yes, that is capital D) for the farm is precariously balanced on a tightrope of limited time to devote to each of its components. For all the dreams to become reality the farm has to operate with optimal efficiency and require less time than is currently the case. Furthermore, the farm needs to be well managed, a task to which Kent is committed.

To increase the sustainability of their farm, Kent made several significant changes that result from his participation in Wisdom in the Land.

Resources. Kent obtained materials to build a hoop house needed to increase production. To date, he hasn’t found time to construct it. Working in partnership with the metropolitan parks, a pond, fencing, bike trails, and an access road have all been developed. Kent started to plant different cover crops responsive to the varied soil types on the farm in order to build soil fertility. Somehow he found the time to mow before the crop went to seed. Kent took the advice of a mentor to add worm composting, one of his soil building strategies.

Production. Weeding takes lots of time so Kent seeks to prevent and control weeds. He is moving production from both field and raised beds to only raised beds. Raised beds also helped with drainage which had been problematic in the field. Kent switched from black plastic and the use of nitrogen-sapping cardboard and wood chips to a permeable ground cover. Kent is committed to finding time to mow as a natural weed control practice. Initially poultry was free-range and then chicken tractors were used and now the poultry is day-range. Because of the farm and parks project, the back fields, no longer used for vegetable production, will be sectioned and intensive pasture management practices adopted. In the future, when time and resources become available, the primary production areas will be penned and the ducks and turkeys rotated through them so that soil, pasture, animals and production layers can contribute to sustainability. Production plans changed when the opportunity to own a restaurant became a reality. In 2007 and 2008, the Peters planted less and raised fewer animals than they initially planned. They focused only on the most important aspects of the farm development plan.

Business. The business goal is to optimize the production of a small acreage farm in ways that maximize both income and profitability. To accomplish this one aspect of their big dream, Kent and his wife are in the process of developing a long-range farm plan. Kent looks for opportunities to promote and advertise the restaurant so that the farm gets greater visibility. For example, hosting fund raising events for non-profit farm service organizations at the restaurant, interacting with restaurant customers and talking about the farm. In the future he will showcase the farm through on-farm events easily accessible in this metropolitan area. People will be able to ride a bike on the new park trails!

Contact Information:

Kent Peters

Black Creek Heritage Farm
4901 Ebright Road
Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110

Franklin County

614-572-3277
tBlackcreekfarm@insight.rr.com

Kent Peters and his wife bought 11 acres in 1998 part of a land grant to Captain John Stevenson as payment for Revolutionary War deeds. Their house was built in the 1860’s and is a Federal style mason farmhouse which they are restoring. They began raising heritage poultry in 2003, while both worked full time off the farm. In 2006 Kent became a restaurant proprietor. Black Creek Bistro in Columbus, Ohio is an extension of the farm which provides heritage poultry, vegetables and herbs and is to become a drop off site for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) deliveries. The restaurant is also a resource to the farm where its food scraps, cardboard boxes, and waste vegetable oil become compost, weed suppressors, and fuel.