Blue Pike Farm grows, sells produce in Cleveland's St. Clair and Superior neighborhood

CLEVELAND - The chickens were running wild, the ground ready for seeds and garlic about to sprout at the Blue Pike Farm in Cleveland.

"If you go back 100 years ago this land was actually farmland," said owner Carl Skalak.

"And this particular neighborhood what we now call the St. Clair Superior neighborhood had a whole bunch of peach orchards here. And there are some remnants of a peach trees in people's back yards scattered hither and yon," Skalak said.

Skalak has taken a bit of that land and is reverting it to farmland. He even has a bee farm.
 
"I had been a backyard community gardener for a number of decades, so I knew a little about growing food. I'd never done it at this scale before 2006," he said.

So Skalak figured putting this farm in the middle of the St. Clair and Superior community would make it easier for residents to get fresh fruits and vegetables cheaper and without pesticides.

"I am not certified organic but I don't use any petro chemical-based pesticides or fertilizers here," he said. "As a matter of fact, in the six years that I've been here I've never sprayed or used any kind of pesticide on any of my crops."

The transition hasn't been easy for Skalak. As he gets to know his neighbors, he hopes that business will pick up.

He also hopes that as Clevelanders become more health conscious, they'll consider urban farms like his as a choice to healthy eating.

"Not only is the nutrient value of the food better than conventional food, but you don't get all those residual pesticides that come along for the ride," he said.

Starting on June 20 not only will you be able to buy fresh berries, honey and breads, you'll also be able to buy fresh eggs at the farm. It will be open every Thursday during the summer up until October from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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