A butterfly drops down to a patch of herbs, where pink and white blossoms pepper a field sprouting in all directions. Pamela Neitenbach points out echinacea, calendula, comfrey and St. John’s Wort.
“It’s been wild, it’s been tamer, it’s been wild again, kind of like the tides,” says Pamela about the garden of herbs on Neitenbach Farm.
The garden is across from a hill of potatoes, a hoop house with cucumbers, hot peppers and eggplant, a chicken coop and small apiary. Pamela and her husband, AJ, have been offering a CSA of fruit, vegetables, eggs and medicinal herbs since moving to the 3-acre farm in 2007.
The couple, who met in Colorado, moved to Hawaii before coming to Cleveland in 2002. Their time spent in Hawaii introduced them to a slower lifestyle where people were more in tune with the land and their food. Pamela began studying herbals, and a whole new world opened up. “I remembering thinking, This is an ongoing process for the rest of your life,” she says. “It’s never-ending. There’s always something to learn.”
Today, she’s able to pass along that information when creating herbal teas, tinctures and salves, which also incorporate beeswax from 350,000 bees.
“Pharmaceuticals have their place, but treating your body with more connection to the earth can be a healthier lifestyle,” she says. “A big part of this is education and showing people how they can take control of their health.”
AJ, who recently bought an Amish-made rototiller that he pushes by hand, calls himself “the mule.”
“I feel patriotic about it,” he says of the farm. “We’re taking care of something that’s been passed on to us. It’s an honor.”
But while they teach others about holistic health, the farm has had its own lessons for the Neitenbachs.
“It took us a couple years to figure out what we had to do, and then it took us a couple years to fix what we did the first years,” AJ says. “Now, we know where we’re heading and where we want to be. Every day is trying to find a better way.” 3077 Akron Peninsula Road, Cuyahoga Falls, 330-321-9026, facebook.com/theneitenbachfarm