Written by: Nick Houser
Date: July 7, 2017

Strawberry fields at Rhoads Garden Center. Photo: Steve Stover

Strawberry fields at Rhoads Garden Center. Photo: Steve Stover

We are long-time customers of Rhoads Farm Market in Circleville. We usually visit them at the farmers markets in Columbus, however we recently visited the farm for a morning, and we were very impressed with the entire operation.

Rhoads Garden Center and Split Rail Nursery are located at 1051 State Route 56 East in Circleville.

The farm consists of 200 acres, 125 acres for the nursery and 75 acres of fruits and vegetables. The nursery provides trees and plants for the new Veterans Memorial and the cities throughout the region, but they also sell to the public from the garden center.

When we visited, Rhoads was picking 3,500 quarts of strawberries per day. They have been picking since May 4. The strawberries had new blossoms, and they were expecting a second crop this year, with strawberries well into June.

Rhoads is also the largest blackberry producer east of the Mississippi, picking from July to September.

This year, they are expecting a record crop of strawberries, blackberries and peaches. Some of Rhoads produce goes to their markets and area farmers markets, but they also sell to Kroger, WalMart, and Heinen’s, and Jeni’s buys their strawberries, blackberries and sweet corn.

We went out in the strawberry fields, and tasted a few right off of the vines. We also visited the refrigerated warehouse, and tasted Camino Royale and Sweet Ann varieties.

The berries were so good that we have bought five quarts each week for eating, giving to friends, and freezing – host Ann Fisher has been canning and making jams as well.

The blackberries were even more impressive, in a field as far as the eye can see, with a hinged trellis system that goes up and down for winter protection, permitting the plants to get more sunlight, and irrigation.

Brent Rhoads, a graduate of the Ohio State’s College of Agriculture, is the patriarch of the farm. His wife Kathy is “the hostess with the mostess,” and often the “face of Rhoads Farm.”

We have been visiting the farm for 10 years, and attended the 50th anniversary celebration a few years ago.

The next generation of the Rhoads family have taken over much of the day-to-day operations, according to son Brett. One person runs the nursery operation/produce growing, another oversees the Garden Center retail store and another manages the landscaping operation.

Summer is the best time of the year for wonderful fresh vegetables and fruit. We also love the fact the Rhoads often have some of the first strawberries, peaches, blackberries, tomatoes, and corn due to their use of special early varieties, soils, and location.

Rhoads Garden Center also sells plants in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Rhoads Garden Center also sells plants in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables. Photo: Steve Stover.

Be sure to stop by the original in Circleville, or the local farmers markets in Bexley (Thursday), Worthington (Saturday), Clintonville (Saturday) and Hilliard (Tuesday), and say hello to Kathy and Brent and their friendly staff.

Location
Rhoads Garden Center Inc.
1051 State Route 56 East
Circleville, OH 43113 
Local Phone: 740-474-2028
rhoadsgardencenter.com

Hours
Monday-Friday: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. 
Saturday: 9 a.m. -6 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. -5 p.m.