Clinehens Organic Farm
The Clinehens’ Organic Farm is where all the corn that’s used in our fresh masa, tortillas, tortilla chips, and crackers is grown. Chris was the first farmer to take an interest in what we were doing, and after he tasted some of the black beans we had grown out in market test plots in 2009, he decided to "give them a try," and, and in three years, went from a seven acre experiment to more than 60 acres. The father of two, Chris is a third generation farmer, who started transitioning his 250 acre farm in 1994. Today, Chris, his daughter Ginger grow for Shagbark. And, in the off-season, Chris is likely to be demoing our chips at stores near his farm, joining us at the OEFFA conference in Dayton, and visiting Athens County to celebrate his and Kim's birthdays at their favorite restaurant, Casa Nueva, the worker owned restaurant that sets the bar for local and the first to serve our beans, chips, and tortillas.
Tom and Mary Klein & Sons Organic Farm
Tom and Mary make the distinction that organic farming is a cause. And that’s why they are among a few farmers out there who are devoted to growing landrace (heirloom) crops, like Wapsie Valley Corn, which we grind into our Grits, Polenta, and Corn Meal; the Red Fife Wheat ground into our Flour and Cereal, as well as Einkorn, Spelt, and Emmer. The Klein family has been growing grains and beans on their family farm for 20+ years. Both served in the Peace Corps in Malaysia. They have three adult children.
Hershberger Family Farms
Father and three sons each have their own farms, where they farm exclusively with horse-drawn equipment. The Hershbergers have grown Shagbark’s Heirloom Popcorn, a mainstay at the Athena Cinema in Athens, without chemical inputs since 2011.
Mac-O-Chee Valley Farm
Alan and Tisha started growing buckwheat for us in 2019 and have been farming their 83 acres under organic certification since 1990. They also grow corn, oats, and alfalfa, and raise beef cattle. Mac-O-Chee, which means, Smiling Valley, is the name the Shawnee used for that area of Logan County, where the Mad River runs, one of the only rivers in Ohio that have habitat for fresh water trout.
Paul, Carol and their son, Brent farm 500 acres that include field crop rotations of buckwheat, grain, and beans and a 100-head herdshare dairy. They have been growing our black beans since 2017 and have been certified organic since 1998. Paul tells us he's the fifth generation to farm here, and that they were all farmers back in Europe before that! When we asked him if he wanted to share anything else, he said, "It's great to know the people where your crop is being shipped and processed into food people enjoy."
Flathill Organic Farms
Greg Thomas and his son, Brandon, the newest farm to join Shagbark, grow our pinto beans and buckwheat. They have been farming on 29 acres remaining of the homestead farmed by Greg's parents and grandparents. Thanks to his good friend, Tom Klein (see Tom Klein among our farmer descriptions, above), Greg decided to transition the farm to organic starting in 2016. Tom is credited with helping Greg see the benefits of organic production, which he says was obvious when he tasted his organic soybeans. "They were nothing like the GMOs growing nearby. Better flavor and good soil is what it's all about."
Ed Andrews of Andrews Organics grew Shagbark black beans and pinto beans from 2015-2017. Ed, a fourth generation farmer, grew up working with his Dad, Eugene, and Grandpa, Mills, both teaching him conventional grain farming on the family’s 1244 acre farm. In 2000, he started transitioning to organic, and by 2009, the entire farm was USDA certified organic. His two youngest sons still work on the farm when they aren’t in school, along with Nathan and Joshua Jones, whose family has been integral to all farm operations since 2000.
Mark Beaver Organic Farm
Mark and Marilyn Beaver are both sixth generation farmers, and they have taken over both family farms where they grow organic grain--his a grain farm and hers a dairy--while living on the farm where Marilyn grew up. They started farming full time after Mark retired from work as an electrical engineer. Their two children and four grandchildren live nearby and their son-in-law also works on the farm. All but 15 acres of the 300 acre farms were certified organic in 2009. The Beavers grew all Shagbark’s heirloom Oberkülmer Spelt from 2014-2016 from which we make Flour, Cereal and Pasta. They also grew some of our buckwheat.