Noble County Farm Named Century Farm

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One Noble County farm was recently designated a Century Farm, making it the first of its kind in the county.

Everly Farms, located in Caldwell, is owned by Lorin and Eleanor Sanford. The farm sits on top of Perryopolis Hill.

"Everyone around these parts will know where that is," said Lorin Sanford, with a laugh.

Lorin Sanford says the honor by the Ohio Department of Agriculture came to the farm by chance.

"Well, I had a friend in the Ohio Department of Agriculture and he came down and said that Noble County did not have a Century Farm and it was one of three counties that did not have one. And he asked if we would be interested in doing that," said Sanford.

According to a release from the agriculture department, Century Farms are agriculture operations that have been owned by the same family for more than 100 years.

There are currently 950 Century Farms across the state, with 78 added in 2012.  The Sanford's farm, though, is the only one in Noble County.

The farm has been part of Eleanor Sanford's family for nearly 200 years. Everly Farms was established in 1819 before Noble County was founded.

According to Eleanor Sanford, her great-great grandfather, Embers Merry, bought 30 acres of land from the U.S. government in a landsale in Zanesville.

From that original plot, the spread has grown to more 370 acres.

"I grew up there and my mother was born there and my grandfather was born there, back as far as I can go," said Eleanor Sanford, noting that the family's farmhouse sits on the original 30 acres.

Merry is credited as planting the first orchard in the region and the trees stood on the property for decades, until last year when Eleanor Sanford says they lost the orchard. 

Lorin Sanford says life around the farm has been pretty much the same for past 100 years and even the state designation won't change that.

"All we got is a sign up at the top of the road that it is a Century Farm and we got a plaque that's on the wall in the house," said Sanford.

The Sanfords have one daughter and two grandsons: one is a Marine stationed in Japan and the other is a Berklee College of Music graduate living in Austin, Texas.

"But the farm will stay the same, it will stay in the family," said Lorin Sanford. 

Two other Southeast Ohio counties received first-time registrations for Century Farms: the Dorr family in Athens County and the Pfeifer family in Pike County.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture reports that these registrations mean each of the state's 88 counties now boasts a Century Farm.