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On Paige's Produce

Picture this:

You spend most of your life only stepping on man made surfaces. The thought hits you while strolling through a parking lot: “when’s the last time I stepped on real earth?”

I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life, but it still surprises me when I slip down the empty back roads of my old stomping grounds only to realize I’ve never once been down this particular

course before. The sense of discovery ricochets through my body like an electric current as I take scenic country roads to the small town of Amanda. I am on my way to photograph a local family farm.

The magic of Paige’s Produce is potent. As you pull in you’ll notice a large sign marking your destination, nestled on the back of a wagon. It stands right beside a cute and convenient roadside market, recently built to feature the very best jams, jellies, noodles and other homemade treats from local farmers, bakers and artisans. The farm stand and barns certainly are charming, but nothing compares to the view you get as you crest down the hill into the heart of the orchard. Descending into the valley on the back of a golf cart at sunset was an experience that filled my cup over with gratitude. The smell of the blooming fruit trees, the flowers gilded in the evening light and the sound of bees and birds singing was something special.

My visit to Paige’s Produce was set up to capture images and drone video for their annual apple blossom season, but I didn’t expect the joyful experience of simply being out in nature, away from the hassle of the city. Words and pictures just cannot do it justice.

Brian and Kelly Helser started farming all the way back in 1999, growing a small amount of tomatoes, green beans and sweet corn. Through the years they have leaned hard into tree fruit as they continue to expand. They just planted another 1,300 trees, which should produce fruit in the next 3-5 years. “It’s so rewarding to see trees you planted develop into mature fruiting trees. It takes a lot of patience and mental toughness at times with frost, hail, wildlife, government rules, regulations and taxes, but it’s still fun” says the hardworking Brian Helser.

Their love of growing things with their own hands is only matched by their beautifully strong family ties. “With the last name of Helser we thought it would be easier for people to say ‘Paige's Produce', based on our oldest daughter's middle name.”

The Helsers believe that as farmers it’s more important than ever to be involved in their local community. They offer CSA shares (community supported agriculture, for those wondering) to offer access to the very best in local produce. Read more about it here. Visit their roadside market, or go visit the farm. They offer u-pick peaches, apples and pumpkins, as well as farmers market offerings. You can find them at the Clintonville and Upper Arlington farmers markets, but I personally recommend visiting their farm to truly soak in the experience and see how your food is grown. You can find them online on Facebook and Instagram. Their beautiful orchard is also a great location for family photos - contact me for an apple picking photo session for your family.

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