Poverty Acres

  (Washington Court House, Ohio)
Home of The Hot Plate Catering, Best Sweet Corn, and Pumpkin Farm
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Poverty Acres Started Growing The Worlds Best Sweet Corn

Karl Harper was definetly a Sweet Corn Conisour!


Karl shown with fresh picked corn in 1995. He believed in picking it early morning and blanching it in ice cold well water within twenty minutes after picking.

   The first Sweet Corn actually grown to sell from the farm was as early as the 1970's. Karl Harper grew a patch with his daughter Sue and son-in-law Fred Kelley to assist in the expense of hospital bills for the birth of their daughter Tina. Local stores, including Kroger bought and resold Poverty Acres sweet corn.

MaryAnn and Karl continued to market it to local stores to help pay her expenses to Ohio U.

Karl continued to grow it and give it to friends, family and neighbors until his sudden passing in 2002. Karl discussed growing it in the empty hog lots to help pay Nancy's nursing bills and hopefully save the farm prior to his death.

Drexal Hynes would not use his equipment in these lots because of the metal from old post etc. He was leasing the remaining acreage.

With the help of Butch Molloy, MaryAnn and Sam grew their first marketable crop in 2003. Since that time customers from as far as England, the Virgin Islands, and at least half the United States have enjoyed the Worlds Best Sweet Corn. Hand Picked and Hand sorted each day. Though there is virtually no profit in it, the help of family from as far as Georgia, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio helps pay tax's and insurance to keep the farm a home for all the family to come too.

Tina and her son Art caught this same family fever to keep it alive. Each summer they came to help. Artie had a passion for it, had several suggestions that helped improve it and loved our customers. He is irreplaceable at the farm. We can only work harder not to let him and other family down.

From growing the first sold sweet corn of the 70's, what is great food for many, is still providing a family bond today.


Always the darkest just before light cont...

       Always the darkest just before light Cont…

   Fortunately, my dad and the Good Lord had prepared me for such an accident a few months before. A friend I played with many times was killed tragically in an accident. He and his brothers and sisters were in the back of their truck one afternoon. His mother pulled forward and then backed up. She did not realize he had fallen off and backed over him. He got up, ran to her arms to hug her, and died in her arms. My dad took me to the funeral and showed me what can happen if I did not keep safety in my mind at all times. He had me touch him and explained death to me.

   The night we found my dad I was the first to arrive at the tractor and picker still running. I immediately stopped the power take off and shut the tractor off. When I touched the back of his neck, I knew he was gone. He had taught me well and he had made a tragic mistake. He was very sick and a snowstorm was headed our way. He asked my mother to keep us at the house and get the milking done. He needed to get the corn in before the storm got to our farm. He was too weak to get the picker unplugged so he broke his own safety rules. He turned the power take off on and then was pulled into the picker while trying to get it unclogged.

   Within an hour, we had over 300 farmers at our farm. I still am in awe when I think about that night. They came to help and support us in any way they could. They did not leave after that night either, as they rotated helping us for three months. That was when I realized this was permanent. Our dad was not coming back and the farm, my 4-H calf, my tractor, and my whole world was at auction in Jan. of 1964.

   That alone was dark enough, but an even greater blow was yet to come. My mom informed me we were moving to town, she had no choice. That was bad, but then the next blow to my life was my dog could not go with us to town. Perky, my German Shepherd, was going to another farm. My 250-acre world just turned into a two-bedroom apartment with no pets.

   I am sharing this farm story for more then one reason. The first is to make every farmer that reads this think twice before you break safety rules including myself and my own family. Another is an example of how an accident changes everyone’s life not just the life of the person in the accident. It is the root of why I work very hard every year to help my wife, MaryAnn save a piece of her family farm. It is a small story compared to many families across this great country trying to save their family farms.

   It has been said, that for every door closed in life, the Good Lord opens up two more for you to choose to go through. I am very thankful that he has continued to give me a choice and even has led me to an awesome person to share my life with.

   Our recent family tragedy reminds us of many we have made it through. In this New Year, we close another door yet to face two doors to choose. We pray to choose the one with light, to preserve our home, our jobs, our health, and the safety of our family and friends. We are thankful and proud for Tyler’s service and pray he returns safe and well to home.

   Time for a break! I will share some more another day. May our entire Poverty Acre friends and family stay safe! Spring is coming. New life and new light is on its way.

Always the Darkest just before Light


           Always the darkest just before light

  Uncle Charlie said I should write a book and the truth is I probably could. I was born on a dairy farm just eight miles east of Johnstown, Ohio. Any dairy farmer could tell you it really gets the darkest just before dawn. I have seen it so dark you can not see your hand when you put it an inch from your face.

   It is a lot like life itself. I can not count the times my life has looked so dark I wondered if I could survive until something good happened. I remember my life starting at about three years old on the farm. I was with my Dad in the hay field picking up the smaller size round bales we had then. I was setting on an Allis Chalmers tractor with a hand clutch. My Dad would pull the clutch handle to pull the tractor and wagon forward to the next bales. One time he got off, picked up the bales and tossed them on the wagon, and then I pulled on the hand clutch. Man was he shouting at me! Then I pushed it forward and stopped. When he realized I could do it properly, that began my work with him on the farm. Imagine – three years old – people would file charges against him today. They was some of the happiest days of my life.

  He bought me my own tractor when I was seven, yes I was seven years old! It was a Farmall H International. The neighbors had Farmall M’s and he new I liked them. They had glass pack mufflers and would gun the engines to impress my sisters when they passed the house. My Dad took the exhaust muffler off mine and put a straight downspout on it. It sounded like a hemi. People heard me for miles and many neighbors complained I was too young for that.

  One day, while I was still seven, I pulled an older steel wheeled two bottom plow from behind the barns to the barn yard area. My Dad was gone some where so I cleaned it up and painted it green. When he got home, he was mad that I was on the tractor without him being around. Then he looked the plow over and said, "You know Bub – I think we have some new plow shears for that in the old shed". He found them and we put them on the old plow. He told me I could pull it through the fields, but because of the steel wheels, I could not take it on the roads. He would set the depth on the plow with the hand levers. For the next couple of years, he would plow with the Allis and I on the Farmall. I can still remember us stopping when the sun was up so high in the sky and listen for my mom ringing the dinner bell. I can still smell the fresh plowed ground like it was yesterday. I have cherished those two years all my life.

  On October 28, 1963, I was nine at the time, my two oldest sisters and I were to find my dad bent over in a corn picker. His body was there but daddy was gone. A few days later one of his favorite presidents was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Thus began the first darkest time of my life, but may define who I am today. Do accidents change our world? Is there light after the darkest hour?

Got work to do for now, but will continue the search for light later. Happy New Year to all our Poverty Acre Friends. May 2010 bring great light!



Thanksgiving 2009 At Poverty Acres

Thanksgiving 2009 at Poverty Acres

We are again preparing for winter at the farm. Many flowers, plants, trees and weeds have gone to sleep until next spring. This year has sure been an adventure, to say the least.

We thought Art was going to be able to help some, but found his foot had a fracture that put him off his feet. We are very thankful he is doing fine now.

It was very exciting to learn Uncle Charlie wanted to come up again. Wow, what a life savor he is. At 82 he still was loading Sweet Corn and chatting with customers like a seasoned professional. The customers were glad to see him back again. We are thankful the Good Lord looks after him because we cannot get him to slow down and just enjoy being here. The best part is just having him with us.

The twins were born ahead of schedule. Corbin and Harper are doing great and MaryAnn has been burning up rubber between Marysville and the farm. We are very thankful we could pull off both the sweet corn and pumpkin season this year.

Chris came up to help with the sweet corn again. The timing was perfect. We had a cool down that delayed the corn and she arrived for the busiest week. It is hard work, but her and Uncle Charlie make it very enjoyable. The best part of each day is in segments. We are up at daybreak picking and preparing. We have coffee and Uncle Charlie surprises us sometimes with a trip to town for donuts or McD’s. A nice social time for us all. Than the action begins as cars come streaming down the drive for fresh veggies. When the day ends we are all worn out, but we all look forward to a farm fresh dinner and reflecting on the stories of the day.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday and we have many things to be thankful for this year. MaryAnn is cooking a feast to celebrate our thankfulness with friends and family. Uncle Charlie is coming and we are hoping for some great stories again. He will be happy to know I have seen many rabbits running around the farm again.

We miss Tyler, but are very thankful he is doing well. He is in Italy and preparing to go to the Kunar Province in Afghanistan. He will be going there in early December. Please remember him each day in your prayers as it is a very dangerous area. He is arriving there with Able Company, 2-503rd, of the 173rd airborne.

It will be nice when his work is done and he can come home. It will be Thanksgiving at Poverty Acres that day, regardless of the time of year. For now we welcome home all our friends and family. Welcome Home!!

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