GAMBIER — For Gambier resident Chrissie Laymon, selling produce at a farmer’s market is not a weekly occurrence. Laymon, along with her husband, Jay, and their four young children, operates The Farm on Kenyon Road, which includes a market that is open to the public six days a week.
The Farm is a 33-acre sustainable family farm, where 2 1/2 acres are currently gardens and orchards, and a market housed in a renovated garage that opened in June 2012. Both Laymon and her husband are natives of Knox County and grew up on farmland. Laymon noted their childhood experiences as motivation for purchasing The Farm.
“We bought the farm last year so our children could have the same opportunity to gain the valuable lessons that are learned on a farm, and to provide as much of our own food as possible,” said Laymon. “Then we needed to make a living from the farm, thus the market.”
Along with first-hand experience, Laymon has an extensive educational background in farming culture; she graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in American Rural Studies, followed by a graduate degree from Ohio State University in Rural Sociology. Currently, she is a member of the Knox County Local Food Council and a Kenyon affiliated scholar with the department of Sociology and Rural Life Center. Her connections with Kenyon College also include the hiring of The Farm’s intern, Rebecca Katzman.
When it comes to maintaining The Farm, Laymon said, “It is mostly me who operates The Farm. My intern works 20 hours a week, Jay helps with projects such as building fences, and my dad helps quite a bit.”
The Farm produces chemical-free, all-natural foods, including fresh produce from the garden, locally made baked goods and bread, maple syrup, jams and jellies, and pickles. Laymon raises livestock as well, such as free-range chickens for meat and eggs, turkey chicks, milking goats, meat rabbits and honey bees. All items at The Farm are produced on site or by other local growers.
“We want to encourage community and promote small farms by selling from other growers within the county or 25 miles. ... You won’t find out of season items. The majority of food comes from our own garden,” Laymon said. She intends for the market to remain open until Thanksgiving, possibly Christmas, with produce such as winter greens available, and to re-open in February 2013.
The Laymons have goals for The Farm to greater benefit Knox County. “We hope to expand to dairy products next year, like milk and cheese, and build a root cellar,” Laymon said. Other long-term goals for The Farm’s expansion include a walk-in cooler and dry storage, a canning kitchen, increased retail market space and eventually establishing The Farm as, according to a business plan written by Laymon, “a learning center on local foods production and sustainable farming for the public.”
The Farm on Kenyon Road is located at 11749 Kenyon Road, and business hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Orders can be made by phone or email. For more information, including a daily updated list of available products, please visit www.thefarmonkenyonroad.com.