“Ten years ago, I joined the Milford Farmers market,” Vivian said, “and Jay and I planned and planted till our fingers almost bled!”
They started out growing vegetables, cut flowers and a few herbs. Every Wednesday and Saturday, everything was loaded up onto the pickup truck and driven to Milford for the farmers market.
“Each year, we learned more and fine tuned our practices to provide more of what the customers wanted – and what grew good for us.”
They joined Loveland Farmers Market and have participated in other markets and many craft shows.
Pfankuch and her husband, Jay added the lavender farm in 2007. They host a pick your own lavender event on four Sunday afternoons in June. It is located about 1 1/2 miles north of Buford on St. Rt. 134. With all that lavender, they make many products including lavender blackberry jam, lavender blueberry jam, dream pillows, herbal bath sachets, and other items. Herbal soaps and soy candles have also been added to the list of wonderful items for sale.
Most of the lavender products are available online.
During the last 10 years, there have been many trials and tribulations.
“We have survived all Mother Nature has sent our way – too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, hurricane force winds and sweltering days when we said a breeze sure would be nice! Medical issues have made us wonder if we could, or should go on, but working the earth, raising your own food and sharing with customers is a healing process in itself. So we go on!” Vivian said.
Jaybird Farms has also raised fresh water shrimp, ring neck pheasants and now has a thriving bee apiary.
“We are always trying something new! A flock of 100 laying hens provides lots of fresh eggs for customers too,” Vivian said.
Other family members have become involved and help during planting time and also at the markets. It is a great way to spend time with the kids and grandchildren (and now there are three!). Son, Donny Alderman, has set up at many events and shows, and is the number one salesman for the business!
Pfankuch is a former resident of Miami Township and lived in Milford until 1991.
“I grew up on a small family farm, so farming is in my blood,” Pfankuch said.
She said that the Milford area had grown so much and there was little farm land left.
“I needed to move farther out into the country to be able to continue doing what I love,” Pfankuch said. “Who knew that my obsession for growing things would lead to such a great business and so many opportunities. I’ve been invited to speak at many garden club meetings and even at some schools for career day! We are honored to be one of the growers for Granny’s Garden School in Loveland.”
Jaybird Farms is a member of the Loveland Farmers Market, and Milford Farmers Market. Call (937) 442-4800 for more information, or visit their web site www.jaybirdfarms.com.