To start off our blogging adventure, we wanted to start with a character introduction and story-to-date series. Today, we’ll introduce you to the family here on the farm, in upcoming editions we’ll give the bigger story.
We’ll begin with Ralph and Sheila Schlatter, the patriarch and matriarch of the farm. Ralph is the 5th generation farming this land and Sheila is the 4th generation in her family to farm. In the early 90’s they made the shift from conventional to grass-based farming and direct marketing of beef and poultry; in the early 2000’s they added milk and cheese to their direct market business. Today, Ralph runs the on-farm cheese making operation, as well as overseeing broader happenings in farm production and day-to-day operations, while Sheila manages the books, interfaces with customers and shares management of the store.
Next is Kyle, Ralph and Sheila’s third son, who is in charge of bovine management and nutrition. Year round, he is the point man for milking. During the grazing season (roughly April-December), he manages up to 6 herds moving up to twice a day, haymaking and storage, fence maintenance, mineral supplementation and application, and more. During the winter, he oversees the daily feed allotment for 3-5 groups of cows, regular (up to daily) barn bedding, and manure handling. On top of his bovine responsibilities, he and Ralph facilitate the majority of the ongoing upkeep and improvement projects an farm.
Finally, Renae (Schlatter) and Adam Snyder. Renae is Ralph and Sheila’s youngest. She began to run the farm’s Toledo-based buying club right out of high school in addition to sharing in store management and book-work. She and Adam met while apprenticing on a large diversified grass-based farm. Adam manages the day-to-day pig operation as well as managing the sheep and pastured poultry during the grazing season. He also fills in as needed with projects and daily chores. Together they run the farm’s social media accounts and this website.