Family-Run Bird’s Haven Farm a Staple at Granville Farmers Market
Just to the east of Columbus lies the college town of Granville. While the town is known for so much, including Denison University and Ray Ray’s Meat + Three, the Granville Farmers Market is considered one of the best in Central Ohio. And Bird’s Haven Farm has been a cornerstone of the Granville Farmers Market.
Bird’s Haven Farm is at the Granville Farmers Market on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. during the season from May 1 – October 30. Their row of tables is hard to miss between the variety of colorful produce and the fun and cheerful atmosphere provided by the love and enthusiasm that only a family-owned business can bring. Watermelon, tomato, and sweet corn season are in full swing, and the plethora of daughters and nieces who round out the family are happy to sell you as much produce as you can handle for the week.
Bryn Bird, a Granville Township Trustee, shared the story of Bird’s Haven Farm and stressed family connection and togetherness are truly at the root of all they do. Started by Bryn’s mother and father at the age of 50, the farm was a dream come true for their son (and lead farmer), Lee Bird. The family moved from Colorado to Granville when Bryn was 16 to start and buy a farm near where her father grew up in Westerville.
“614 and then 740 was special for us because we love the Midwest lifestyle; we really love and cherish strong sense of community, family, and being involved in our neighbors’ lives,” said Bryn.
Some of her favorite memories are the time together and love that came from figuring out how to farm.
“My very favorite memory was planting crops on our fancy transplanter when I was still in high school and just the four of us were working to get something planted before the rain came,” Bryn recalled. “It was a moment I will never forget as we worked together, just us four. Never getting rich doing it, but it is all about family and working together towards a common goal.”
Bird’s Haven Farm is the manifestation of love and family investment in each other’s dreams and the local community.
“My brother Lee was born to farm,” Bryn said. “Even while in Pueblo, he bartered with an older gentleman on the outskirts of town and worked cleaning up for him. In return, [he] got a John Deere tractor. Lee drove it around our urban block before he was 10 years old…My parents have said they, in part, bought the farm for Lee and his future.”
Now the family farm has grown from the original four family members to include the spouses of Lee and Bryn and their daughters. The family has seven girls in the next generation who currently work on and help with the farm and will ultimately have the opportunity to take it on one day. As of now, they can be seen selling, helping, and laughing with community members at the Granville Farmers Market.
During peak growing seasons, Bird’s Haven Farm offers pop-up events to purchase sweet corn and other produce available through the online app, Barn2Door, and advertises on social media. Westerville, New Albany, and Granville are their prime audience based on their location, but Bird’s Haven Farm has worked hard to try to get their produce on your fork.
In order to increase their growing ability and market, Bryn focuses on building relationships and interest in wholesale and institutional buying of local produce in Central Ohio. While her work will ultimately benefit all local farmers, she has built relationships with Denison Dining, The Ohio State University, Brassica, Snapshots Lounge, and Northstar Cafe to cook up Bird’s Haven sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and more.
“We would love to grow more, and we did, but there is limited wholesale marketplace in Columbus,” Bryn explained. “The marketplace right now is more unpredictable but it is hard to convince restaurants and buyers to purchase local.”
Even though challenges exist to the wholesale market, Bryn believes in her local community and the amazing neighbors who have supported the farm since the beginning.
“Columbus is a town that is always looking towards tomorrow…the support of our customers has kept us going,” she said. “Our customers are very loyal to our family and watching us grow. They have been with us through all our changes and given grace when we have had tough seasons.”
The toughest season for the family of Bird’s Haven Farm came when the family matriarch, Ann Bird, passed away in 2018.
“When my mom died, we really did consider being done farming…renting out the land or just doing hay,” Bryn said. “It was a hard few years, and we realized all my mom did for the farm. It wasn’t the same…We did keep going for the family aspect. For watching my nieces at market and how much they love us working together. Those are the successes. We moved forward for them.”
The Covid-19 global pandemic has really shown Bird’s Haven Farm how much love and support their community has for them.
“Without restaurants or institutional buying, we had tremendous support from the community at markets,” Bryn said.
She hopes that restaurant and institutional buyers will look to this support and trusts the community will be invested in local produce popping up on menus across Central Ohio.
“I believe it showed consumers really do value where their food comes from, are willing to be inconvenienced, and will pay more,” Bryn said. “I hope more restaurant and wholesale buyers also see those benefits.”
For more information, visit birdshavenfarm.com.