Nestled into the curves of the Vermillion River, Bellwether Farm is a camp, retreat, and education center dedicated to exposing the wider community to the creation that sustains all of life. As a working farm, its life focuses on four primary activities.
Facilities & Grounds
Bellwether Farm is a unique and affordable option for your next gathering. The center offers brand new facilities featuring a green technology, renewable energy, and water reclamation systems.
The seasons are changing at Bellwether Farm as summer 2021 slowly works its way into our lives. Days are longer and warmer. The forest is full again with all the trees leafed out, spending their days eating the sun – technically, photosynthesizing. Winter almost seems like a distant memory. Spring crops like lettuce, broccoli, and sugar snap peas are barely hanging on while summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are absolutely loving these hot temperatures.
This spring we were able to seed hundreds of veggies and flowers with the help of our great volunteers. All of those plants are currently being transplanted out in the fields and will provide us with food and beauty all summer. We use much of the food here in the dining hall meals, while the rest is sold to guests and donated to parish feeding ministries through our Feeding the Beloved Community program. As we continue to honor the interconnectedness of the farm and table, Chef Lonny Gatlin has been creating lovely meals for our guests with the farm’s early spring crops like spring salad mix, beets, carrots, greens, eggs, and even our maple syrup. Some of his recent seasonal dishes include: roasted beet salad with goat cheese, pistachios, and an apple cider maple ginger vinaigrette; carrots every way including carrot and tomato bisque, maple glazed carrots, shredded carrots for salads, and fresh baked carrot cake muffins with cream cheese frosting; sautéed mixed greens (kale, mustards, beet tops, swiss chard); and eggs every in a variety of ways, including for breakfast and boiled for egg salad.
Our summer special will be a Bellwether Chicken Salad – utilizing our roasted chickens and fresh greens. Also, we incorporate our delicious maple syrup everywhere possible including in vinaigrettes, vegetable glazes, and as a natural sweetener for oatmeal and fresh fruit crisp desserts.
Not only is the farm providing us with food, but the forest is as well. Our morel mushroom hikes led us into the woods in search for the elusive fungi. We were able to find a decent amount of morels and sampled some along with wild ramps. The fishing derby was a splash as people near and far came down to the pond at Bellwether Farm to reel in their prize catch. The day included the first voyage of Bellwether’s mobile food trailer. Though it didn’t have to travel too far to make it to the pond, we look forward to using it more in the future.
On May 29, Bellwether hosted its first Magnificent Mushroom Dinner with guest speaker Pete Richards of the Ohio Mushroom Society who shared his knowledge on the fascinating morel mushroom. Afterwards, guests were treated to a delicious, farm-to-table three course meal consisting of a beet salad with goat cheese and roasted pistachios, grilled pork chops with a morel mushroom gorgonzola cream sauce made from wild morels harvested on site along with white truffle mashed potatoes and freshly harvested grilled turnips and tops. Dessert made the best possible use of Bellwether carrots with a carrot cake muffin naturally sweetened with Bellwether maple syrup and topped with a cream cheese frosting.
As we get into the summer, there is something for everyone. We are excited to continue offering Clergy retreats the first Monday of every month through the liturgical year. If you are into yoga, keep an eye out for the upcoming summer yoga event. Join ukulele aficionado Chelsie Cree for a day of celebrating the ukulele on June 26. The fields and forests of Bellwether Farm will provide an excellent backdrop for making music together. The morning will consist of warming up, refreshing, and practicing together. After a farm-to-table lunch, players will enjoy a play-along of familiar and new tunes. Simple music will be sent in advance, and all age and skill levels are welcome to join this fun and relaxing day of music and community!
Finally, don’t forget to sign up for Intergenerational Camp either July 2-4 or July 16-18. Following an Olympics theme, families or pods will participate in team- building activities, friendly competition, and traditional camp activities including arts and crafts, fishing, swimming, hiking, and canoeing. Participants will also work on the farm, caring for both plants and animals, and in the kitchen helping prepare delicious farm-to-table meals. Evenings will include bonfires and s’mores, movies, stargazing, and large group games. Mornings and evenings will also include prayer and reflection.
We look forward to seeing you at Bellwether this summer!
Bellwether Farm is a model of green technology featuring passive buildings, renewable energy, and more. It is a vehicle through which we can teach the wider community about fidelity to the environment, nutrition, physical and spiritual wellness, local food sourcing, food justice, and sustainable living.
Volunteer around Bellwether Farm. Opportunities are posted as they become available.