As a special birthday gift from my family, I was given a choice to go anywhere in Ohio for a day. My mind started racing. I grabbed some books I had been reading about this (still) new state of ours, and I knew that I had to prioritize where it was that would make sense for a day trip from Columbus that we would all enjoy.
When I read the article about Malabar Farm in Edible Columbus last spring, I ear-marked it, knowing that I would want to get back to it at some point. Sure enough, it came in handy. Out of all the places I read about in this book, Malabar Farm was by far the most appealing place to spend the last day of my 35th year on the planet.
A bit embarrassed that I didn't know who Louis Bromfield was before reading about the farm, I did a little research before our journey to his farm up north. An accomplished author and a notable farmer, Bromfield was quite a pioneer in environmental conservation and sustainable farming practices (my kind of hero!). After several books (with a pulitzer prize to boot), and a decade or so in France, Bromfield returned home to Ohio and built the homestead where he spent the rest of his life close to the land that he clearly loved.
The trip from Columbus took about 1.5 hours, straight up I-75, and through beautiful small country roads. The farm is well marked, and is nestled in the rolling green hills of Pleasant Valley.
As part of Ohio State Park, Malabar Farm is free to visitors. You only have to pay fees for the tours through the main house, and the tractor ride that takes you around the property. We opted for a self-guided tour, with a map and descriptions of each building in hand.
The farm has several animal residents: goats, sheep, cows, chickens, turkeys and horses to name a few. It also has a smokehouse, and greenhouse, and several other features that made us feel like we were visiting a real operating small scale farm.
On the way out of the park, we drove up Mt. Jeez for a panoramic view of the whole farm cradled by the valley. The day was grey, the sky blanketed with heavy clouds. But the land still speaks for itself. It still embodies the man who had a vision, who lived his dream, and left it for us to enjoy long after his days.
It was a most wonderful way to celebrate the beginning of a new year.
Malabar Farm State Park
4050 Bromfield Road
Lucas, Ohio 44843
Phone: (419) 892-2784
Daylight, closes at dark.
Visitor Center/Gift Shop Hours
Memorial Day thru Labor Day
7 Days A Week 10 AM thru 5 PM
P.S. Before you reach the farm, Malabar Restaurant (and an adjacent small farm stand) boasts the locavore ideology and delicious creations. Too bad it was closed when we visited, but now we have a good reason to go back, don't we?
Malabar Farm Restaurant
3645 Pleasant Valley Road
Perrysville, Ohio 44864