The Southern tip of Ashland County and the northern reaches of Holmes County contain some of the most scenic rolling countryside in Ohio. With quaint small towns, like Loudonville, Shreve and Nashville, the back roads give drivers a constant panorama of the beauty of Ohio especially in the late autumn season. Even if the leaves are gone there are still shops, stores and unusual places to discover.
If you are starting to think about Thanksgiving a young couple, Cara and Jason Tipton, have created Tea Hills Farm, just north of Loudonville, where they specialize in free range turkeys along with chickens, ducks, some pigs and lamb. The farm has been chemical-free since 1993 and was certified as organic in 2000.
The unusual name of the farm comes from the original owners, native Americans, who once used these rolling hills to grow sassafras, and other herbs that were boiled and then used for medicinal purposes. They called it “tea hills”.
The Tiptons, in partnership with Cara’s father, Doug Raubenolt, have built a small processing plant at the entrance to the farm that will also serve as a country store. It is here that visitors can order turkeys on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday when the Tipton’s and their crew are working at the plant. Other times you can find them and their products at the Shaker Square Farmer’s Market; Crocker Park Farm Market; and also at farm markets in Hudson, Peninsula, Kamms Corner and Chagrin Falls on weekends.
On a recent visit to the farm we saw hundreds of turkeys on a wooded hillside. While the American Bronze Turkeys are just one of several breeds of turkeys that they raise from chicks, the bronze resemble wild turkeys in their plumage, and like wild turkeys, they graze freely in the woods and fields of the farm; Cara Tipton says there is no danger of them flying away across the fences since they are so big and heavy. Some of the birds range from 12 to 25 pounds.
★ You can read the rest of this story in the Saturday, October 27th edition of the Plain Dealer or at their website at www.cleveland.com