Butcher Family Farm
This Wood County produce farm prides itself on raising everything from A to Z.
Photographed by Michele Coleman Photography
Tucked against the Ohio River and Sand Creek, Butcher Family Farm is a third-generation, 113-acre farm in Wood County. Known widely for their pumpkins and the 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week produce stand that operates on the honor system, Rob Butcher says, “We raise everything from A to Z, from acorn squash to zucchini.”
The farm is operated by Rob, his parents (who own the farm), his brother-in-law, and any number of family and community members willing to help plant seed or transplant seedlings into a variety of containers, including hanging baskets, flats of bedding plants, pots of premium plants, and vegetable plants.
After graduating from Ohio State University and working in Virginia and North Carolina, Rob returned to the family farm in Washington Bottom, and in 1992, really started pushing retail. Surrounded by housing developments and an athletic complex that’s always bringing in crowds, the farm does well. “From April to November, Saturdays and Sundays are unbelievable for us,” Rob says. “But on any given day of the week, we’ll have regulars and visitors stop by the produce stand for tomatoes and a watermelon, then the next day for some potatoes, and the next day for some squash.”
And while one-third of the farm’s business comes from produce and another third comes from flowers, one of the farm’s biggest retail seasons is in the fall when they sell 30 varieties of pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash, and 6,000 pots containing 50 varieties of mums. This year, visitors will also be able to choose from a new patch of Atlantic Giant pumpkins and an experimental field of no-till pumpkins grown under a cover crop of rye, a method of planting Rob hopes will reduce fuel usage and labor. He says, “People love all pumpkins, but in the last couple of years, the unusual varieties have really become popular.” The Cinderella pumpkin—a large, round, flat, squatty pumpkin—was very popular a couple of years ago.
Butcher Farm is in full-swing fall mode by September 25, and the biggest day of the year on the farm is Fall Family Fun Day, which falls on the second Saturday of October. Bigger and better every year, this event brings in thousands of visitors for photo ops, pumpkin painting, pumpkin launching, apple stirrings, and hay rides, as well as classic concessions like hot dogs, apple cider, and hundreds of pounds of kettle corn popped fresh.
The Butcher family plans to keep plowing ahead with retail sales and hopes to expand the greenhouse space and experiment in other forms of production such as high-tunnel farming. “What really makes this farm special is that we’ve all made the commitment to be here every day to help raise our produce,” Rob says. “The reward is that we have people come back every year. We have a lot of people in the community who support us, and taking care of them is the best part of this job—these people aren’t customers, they’re friends.”
Butcher Family Farm, 71 Peach Tree Lane, Washington, WV 26181; 304.863.6088