Stone Garden is a nearly self-sufficient farm. We produce our own eggs, meats, dairy and vegetables. In our general store, we sell a variety of homemade soaps, handcrafted herbal teas, honey, maple syrup, metal garden art, many crafts, free range multi-colored eggs, and lots more according to season. In October, we sell pumpkins, corn stalks, folk art, harvest crafts, our own bottled sodas and cider. For Christmas, we offer trees, wreathes, roping and local handmade Christmas decorations and gifts.
We have five different organic and permaculture vegetable gardens. They include 100 year old asparagus and rhubarb patches, many "wild" edibles, a wide variety of heritage and heirloom vegetables and delicious and rare berries and fruits. The woods, fields and pastures add to the fun of plenty to do and see.
At Stone Garden we do animal rescues and have been home to turkeys, llamas, horses, beef cattle and many others we have cared for. We currently have La Mancha milk goats, free-range chickens, Jersey milk cows, Jacob sheep, ducks and heritage pigs. Barn cats are always slinking around, and bunnies hop around their hutch all day.
We sell grass-fed and grain-free meat by the whole, half or pound. We homeschool our children and often invite the community to different homeschool events. We teach classes on heritage skills for all ages. We often host photographic groups, weddings, birthday parties, car shows, music gatherings, primitive skills classes and other events and get-togethers. We are open year around and we're happy to offer free tours, or just let folks browse and wander as they enjoy a day in the country.
A part of the farm has been dedicated to the creation of The Museum of Western Reserve Farms and Equipment. Our goal is to establish a working village during the 1820's to 1920's, equipped with every shop and trade common to a small town. We are saving and preserving many historic buildings that would have otherwise been forever lost. And we are recording the stories of many of the old farming families of the Western Reserve.
The Museum is so far comprised of a collection of 40+ historic buildings moved here from 6 northern Ohio counties, with more added each year. These buildings are arranged as a 'Western Reserve' style town, that includes a one room school, a Gen'l Store, a post office dating to 1825, a cigar factory, windmills, old time water pumps & troughs, one of the oldest barns in Ohio, and a bakery. Many other buildings have been restored to their original use and purpose with each building open for touring. They each contain a variety of tools, equipment, and rare, non-electric antiques. The shops include blacksmithing, harness & boot making shop, weaving mill, sawmill, barrel making, tin shop, a letterpress print shop, broom making, threshing mill, rope making, wood shop, and much more.
For more information on The Museum of Western Reserve Farms and Equipment please visit, www.OhioFarmMuseum.com
Jim Fry fondly remembers hearing the stories of the local Elders as he was growing up in the small farming community of Richfield, Ohio. They spoke of unpaved dirt roads, only occasional mail deliveries, seeing the first car or airplane and even continued to debate about The War Between the States. When the freeways passed thru Richfield, the farms and farmers began to disappear. Gone were the feed stores and blacksmith and harness shops. Not far away the horse farm on the hill became a place of banks, condos and restaurants. As the fields where Fry once made hay became developments and the final resting places of horse drawn equipment were bulldozed, Jim decided to try to save what he could of a fast fading agricultural past. Jim Fry, the founder of the Museum of Western Reserve Farms and Equipment, has been a life long farmer, historian, educator and social activist. Fry has raised pumpkins and Christmas trees on his family farm. He also for a time had one of the largest Hereford herds in the county, raised corn and oats, spent long summers baling hay, tended what was, at the time, one of the largest organic produce operation in the state. As an historian, Jim has been a member of the Civil War Round Table, member of the Richfield Historical Society, member of the Seneca Indian Historical Society and active supporter of and contributor to many other area historical associations. He has worked at the well known Hale Homestead and Western Reserve Village. At the Village his responsibilities included learning, portraying and practicing various trades, custom building and repairing antique furniture, the repair and re-erection of historic buildings and various other special projects. His ancestors include Amish farmers and some of the first pioneers to cross the Appalachians into the great unknown “West” (The first white man to journey through what later became Richfield was his ancestor, Gen’l Anthony Wayne, who lead his troops in the construction of the Fort Pitt to Fort Wayne Trail. That trail followed what in now Columbia Rd. in Richfield.). As a graduate of the University of Akron, Fry received a B.A. degree as an educator and historian. Jim is also certified as a teacher of the Wolf Clan Teaching Lodge and co-taught a Native-American studies course at Kent State University. He has, during the last 40 years, traveled to Europe, Canada and the Middle East and across many states to speak. He has hosted on his farm, gatherings large and small, with as many as 350 people at a time attending weekend workshops and Soltice Celebrations. He has spoken at many universities, churches, conventions, on TV and radio, to civic and social groups and archeological and historical societies and has been the subject of countless newspaper and magazine articles. He was nominated and received the honor of being named one of Ohio’s most interesting people and was the subject of a Pulitzer Prize nominated series of news articles. Jim continues to be available to speak on his favorite topics including the Ancient Traditional Wisdom of the Original Peoples, American history, organic farming and gardening and portraits of early farm life. As a caring member of his community Fry was the co-founder of the Richfield Food Co-op, founder of a recycling center, member of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, member of the Federation of Ohio River Food Co-ops and the founder and director of the Lakota Elders Survival Fund. While overseeing the LESF for 20 years, Fry organized, collected and delivered massive amounts (over 70 semi and box truck loads) of food, clothing, tools and monetary donations to 9 Indian Reservations in 5 states. Jim also organized and traveled with a delegation of Traditional Native Elders to go to Iraq and pray for peace before the 1st Gulf War. While there the group met with and prayed with the various leaders of the then Iraqi government. Jim has been active in union organizing for the United Farm Workers Union and the Carpenters Union. Fry is now a very active teacher of homestead and survival skills to the many folks who travel to his farm from across America. For the past number of years Jim’s efforts and talents have been dedicated to the living history museum. He has averaged moving 4 buildings a year (41 so far) and has recently finished rebuilding & restoring Darrowville post office and Davis barn; this summer, he plans to complete the Hamburg Shoeing, Blacksmithing and Jobbing building (which will be the ‘new; General Store), A 1900’s gas station, move the Pittinger Sawmill and relocate the Castro Letterpress Printstop. (If you need a job done, ask a busy person.)
Laura Fry was raised in the South where her family lived very suburban, but as she got older she started moving towards working with the earth. After moving to Ohio and marrying her husband Jim, she quickly learned many homesteading skills, ins-and-outs of farm life and how to work effectively with the earth. After seeing how hard it was to find teachers when she was learning many of these skills, she started teaching classes to all ages on a variety of heritage skills such as lye soap making, cheese and butter making, fiber arts, animal husbandry and more. Laura homeschools their five children, loves to get her hands dirty in her many gardens and loves to sing with and talk to the fairies that ‘help her plants grow’. She is knowledgeable in herbal medicine and wild edibles, teaching classes, incorporating wild foods in her family’s diet and handcrafting herbal tea blends, herbal salves and more. She has quickly become one of the region’s leading teachers of homesteading skills. She not only teaches these skills, but practices them daily and incorporates their practicality into her everyday life. She is very educated in nutrition and traditional food preparation and can talk for hours on diet-led health from the pros and cons of milk pasteurization to the benefits of fermented foods. Her skills continue to grow as she assists Jim in acquiring and restoring bits of history- whether artifact or building, cares for their many farm animals, works to improve their gardens, preserves as much food as she can and generally tries to bring her family closer to complete self-reliance. Next on her list is replacing their farm house’s electric cook stove with a 6-burner wood cook stove. Currently, Laura has apprenticed with one of the area’s leading midwives (whom was taught by Ina May Gaskin) to learn home birthing midwifery. In keeping with Laura and Jim’s philosophy of creating a more home-centered way of living, their children were born at home. Though Laura can certainly fill up a day milking their cows, making soap and cheese, homeschooling the kids and caring for the gardens and animals, she always has time to stop for a cup of tea and a chat with those who wish to hear some of their stories. As many people often comment, she really is ‘living the dream’.