Jennifer Eddy is a third generation farmer living in Jewett. His grandfather ran a dairy farm and his parents operated a unique greenhouse in East Rochester. Eddy went to college for agricultural business and applied economics with a minor in art; she said she preferred hands-on artistic experiences like glassblowing and working with clay. She’s a hard worker who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, and now she and her husband, Keith, are raising their three children on an ever-expanding farm. They grow everything from tomatoes to kale, cauliflower to beets and corn to cabbage. Whenever a suggestion is made about what someone might want to buy from them, Eddy is willing to try and cultivate it. She said that growing up, she hated almost everything about growing a garden. “If you had told me 10 years ago that this is where we would be, I would have told you that you were crazy.” Now she can’t imagine doing anything else. “It’s one of those things that once it gets into your blood, it’s always there.”
The Eddies believe in hard work and integrity. They want to instill strong values in their children and do so by involving the whole family in the daily activities of the farm. “A hard day at work is a good thing,” Jennifer said. She does not want her children to be reluctant to work honestly. “Where we go, they go.” Anywhere on the farm that needs work, the whole family will be there.
Keith holds a position as the IT Director for the Harrison Hills City School District and still works on the farm daily with the rest of the family. Milking the cows in the morning, weeding the flowerbeds and feeding the chickens are just some of the things they do every day to keep it all running. When their eldest daughter, Abbigail, was asked what it was like to live on the farm, she simply replied, “Fun and challenging. She said her favorite things to do are “playing with pigs and chickens” and “milking a brown Swiss cow.” The Eddies also help their neighbors where possible and are involved in their church, willing to help provide food for dinner parties and their community.
Homesteading and owning a garden has recently seen a spike in popularity, as supply chain issues and inflation drive many Americans to plant their own crops or raise their own animals. Jennifer Eddy’s advice to anyone embarking on this journey is simple: “Take it one day at a time. She explained that even now — a decade later — she’s still learning. She takes the time to read the latest studies and does her research to find the best methods for what she wants to do. She always focuses on natural remedies for common agricultural ailments. Whenever the pests show up, Jennifer and Keith aren’t shy about looking for control methods that don’t involve harsh chemical pesticides and repellents.
“It’s local. You know where it comes from. You know how it’s handled and how it’s supported,” she said. Avoiding pesticides (as much as possible) and connecting with the community are important to the Eddies. They sell their produce and meat a stone’s throw from their property in the parking lot at Valie Lanes in Jewett. “People appreciate it because they know where it comes from and they support local farms.” They will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the products for sale are exhausted. Jennifer tries to update her Facebook page (@EddyfarmsOH) with what she brings up each week, so everyone knows. She is also always open to larger orders. As long as she has a little warning in advance for what you need, she will get it for you.