WIT Farm: Doing “Whatever it Takes” to Thrive in Columbus’ Foodie Paradise

Katie Sorokas Katie Sorokas WIT Farm: Doing “Whatever it Takes” to Thrive in Columbus’ Foodie ParadiseWIT Farm - All photos provided by WIT Farm
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“Whatever it takes” is the motto of WIT Farm, founder and full-time farmer Jamie Holcomb shared during a break from prepping the farm’s Holiday Gift Guide and gift boxes for Market Wagon. Holcomb farms alongside Kyle Pritchard, her finance and a retired Marine. “Whatever it takes” was first the motto of Pritchard’s Marine Corp battalion. Given how appropriate the motto is for life on a farm, the couple was inspired to use the abbreviation as a moniker for their farm in Groveport, Ohio.

“Gotta get up at 1 a.m. to load up 300 chickens so you can get them to the processor on time? You do it. Hauling buckets of water in the middle of an ice storm? You do it. Move 8,000 pounds of feed 50 pounds at a time? Yep, we do that too,” said Holcomb when describing how the motto inspired them.

Jamie Holcomb and Kyle Pritchard

Holcomb is proud of how far WIT Farm has come in the past five years and has big dreams for their future.

“After two years of just selling to friends and family, I joined the Saint Mary’s Farmers Market,” Holcomb recalled. “My success in my first year there convinced me I could farm full-time without additional income. It’s been two years since then (five total years raising livestock and farming), and each year we have doubled our sales.”

Holcomb and Pritchard have spent the past five years doing whatever it takes to grow their farm from a part-time passion project on a few acres of land to a full-time venture for Holcomb. While Pritchard works off-farm, his experience and expertise in his professional life in multi-craft maintenance are essential to the success of WIT Farm.

“Let me tell you, having someone on the farm who can fix, weld, or build literally anything you ask for is an absolute win,” Holcomb said. “I don’t have a mechanical bone in my body, so our skills truly complement one another.”

The couple started dating just a few weeks before Holcomb quit her job to pursue the farm full-time, and now she calls Pritchard the farm’s biggest supporter. According to Holcomb, it doesn’t hurt that “the man can back up a trailer like a champ!”

“I joke that Kyle and I are first generation farmers…since our great grandparents,” Holcomb said. “No one taught us how to farm. I am a very firm believer in just doing it and adjusting along the way. My parents had a few pigs and a small goat herd, both of which I took over.”

Holcomb eventually sold off most of the animals on her parents’ small hobby farm and switched up the breed of pig being raised on the farm.

“We still do heritage breed pork but focus on Durocs,” she said. “In the first year, we processed maybe two hogs, and this year we are up to 36. I added in meat chickens – seven batches of 300 each. I also did 200 meat ducks and have 35 laying ducks. This was my first year doing Thanksgiving turkeys and sold out so incredibly fast.”

While the traditional farmers market season is paused for winter, Holcomb is still busy at work raising hogs, caring for the farm’s laying chickens and ducks, and preparing gifts from WIT Farm for the holiday season. Candles, snack sticks, beef jerky, and pet treats are all available to celebrate the holidays and support WIT Farm. Fans of pastured pork looking to treat themselves and their families for the holidays can even purchase a half hog from WIT Farm this holiday season to fill their freezer for 2022.

Holcomb’s skills as a former project manager are showcased in her creativity to use and honor the whole animal for each of the 1,300 animals raised on their farm. WIT Farm candles use lard from their pastured pigs. The pet treats use the less popular parts of their meat chickens including livers, gizzards, and hearts, which may otherwise go to waste. And Holcomb and Pritchard are working to make bacon from all parts of a pig in order to meet the demand for their #1 product.

“By far and away, bacon is our most popular product!” Holcomb said. “It alone accounts for 11% of our sales, and we have over 100 items we sell! In an attempt to bacon the whole hog, we now have four different types of bacon—traditional belly bacon, buckboard bacon (also known as shoulder bacon and is great for sandwiches), whole jowl bacon, and Canadian bacon.”

WIT Farm is best described in three words by Holcomb—local, pasture-raised, and loved.

“Everything, and I mean everything, is out on fresh pasture every day…I didn’t realize exactly how important that was to the animals until my first winter when I would go out to check animals and the pigs were piled up and covered in snow rather than sleep in a perfectly good shelter,” she said. “It’s better for their health, it shows up in the nutrition in the end product.”

When talking about loving their animals, Holcomb said, “The pigs get named. They each have their own personality, and that’s something we recognize. We talk to the turkeys and they talk back. Even when you have 1,300 animals on the farm in the peak of summer, there are always those few animals that really stand out.”

And Central Ohio is at the heart of WIT Farm.

“Everything we do from birth to finish is done within the state of Ohio,” Holcomb said. “Our birds are from a hatchery in Cincinnati. We source hogs from all over the state, but once we move, we plan to put a breeding program in place. We supplement with local, non-GMO feed from a bicentennial farm. All animals are processed in Baltic. We do not ship so you can only find us in Columbus!”

Holcomb and Pritchard live in Lancaster and farm in Groveport, but plan to move this winter to somewhere in the Columbus area with more land.

“We service the entire Columbus area from Galloway to Lewis Center to down here in Lancaster,” Holcomb said. “Quite honestly, when I first moved to Columbus it was only because my parents had a few acres for me to use. But after living here and many cities across the Midwest, I absolutely love Columbus best. This city is bursting with foodies that know local food can’t be beat. Everyone is so positive and really enthusiastic about pasture-raised meat.”

Explore the many gifts and pastured meat options available from WIT Farm on their website (including monthly pick-up points), through weekly home delivery via Market Wagon (including gifts!), and at City Folk Farm Shop in Clintonville.

The best way to stay up to date with all the goals and offerings from WIT Farm is to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

All photos provided by WIT Farm

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