Ohio is a big part of the history of the Corn Belt, and when I started research on my book, Midwest Maize, a few years ago, I definitely wanted to interview people in Ohio. I was directed by friends to Ed and Sylvia Zimmerman, who have a farm not far from Columbus. That was a few years ago, but we enjoyed each other’s company, and I’ve been invited back a few times.
My most recent visit, a few weeks ago, is when I learned about the festival I mentioned in the previous post—but that’s not why I went to visit. Sylvia had invited me to not only spend a few days on the farm, but also to speak at the Magnetic Springs Café—her newest project, which was just an old building at the beginning of refurbishing when last I visited.
The topic was, of course, corn—I have a presentation I give titled “How Corn Changed Itself and then Changed Everything Else.” I’d given it successfully at a few venues in Chicago, but this time, I’d be surrounded by corn people—people who live with corn, from developing seeds to growing and harvesting to getting corn to market. A little intimidating. However, it was a wonderfully sympathetic crowd, as well—I didn’t have to convince them first that corn is a big deal. We had a splendid evening. Sylvia’s food was excellent, and my presentation was well received.
If you find yourself in the Columbus area and Magnetic Springs isn’t too far out of your way, you might want to consider detouring through and having breakfast or lunch with Sylvia at the café. The historic town is small enough that you don’t really need directions—find the main street, and you’re there. The meal will be excellent, home-style cooking in a charming setting.
I’ll post more soon about other places in Ohio, as well as earlier visits to the Zimmerman farm. But since I shared a couple of posts ago about caring for mom this summer, I thought I’d also mention a few of the fun things I’d fit in, between hospital visits. So more to come.