The historical horse farm Pickwick Place stood empty for many years in Bucyrus until a 14-year-old boy’s dream inspired a group of seven partners to help make it a reality.
“(My son) Ethan wanted to get into the produce business.” said Laura Stuckey, one of the partners in the project. “We were trying to find a spot and once we saw it came with three barns, we tried to decide what we could put in each of them. My husband grew up in the produce business and I brought him to Ohio to be a dairy farmer. It’s been full circle for him.”
The family’s barn remodeling this summer hasn’t stopped them from opening up a fresh produce stand for consumers.
“Ethan has grown some of the produce.” Stuckey said. “We are getting other items from local stores.”
There are big plans for the three large barns on the property.
We want this to be a good place to be,” said Chris Schimpf, another partner in the project. “We want to offer local food and education along with entertainment. The center building will be an event center, the south building will offer fresh produce and the north building, Acres of Adventure, will offer activities for kids. We want to be part of the community and offer a local hub for food and fresh produce.”
The Acres of Adventure will open Sept. 19 with educational activities for people to learn about farming.
“We will have a corn maze, pumpkin picking, an outside play area, games and activities to teach people about farming,” said Rose Hartschuh, another partner in the project. “My husband and I have been operating a corn maze in the northwest part of the county. We used it as a tool to connect people with farming. We hope to reach a new audience this year.”
Hartschuh said field trips are being booked for the fall.
“Students will have a chance to go through all the stations,” she said. “There will be lessons for to students to help them understand where their food comes from.”
The Loft at Pickwick Place is slated to hold its first event next June.
“The response for this has been great, there’s no other place like it in the area.” Hartschuh said. “We have 25 events booked already. We will be able to accommodate 240 people. Upstairs will be the reception area or a place to hold business meetings. The weddings will be held either downstairs or outside the building. It will be a year-round building with heat and air conditioning. We will an elevator, staircase and adding on a kitchen and restrooms. People will have the option to have catering or have their food made here.”
The fresh produce market is planning on being open by berry season next year.
Reach Evans at 419-468-1117 ext. 2049 or on Twitter at @deborahevans31