October 1 & 2, 2016 from 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

For more than 40 years, agricultural awareness has been the aim of the Heart of Ohio Tour. The Tour is held the first weekend in October each year and serves to heighten the awareness of visitors concerning agriculture in Knox County. The organizations and businesses spotlighted open their doors to the public to inform visitors of the workings of the business. Demonstrations of farm and factory machinery give visitors an idea of what goes into the agri-business industry. Business owners and operators are available to answer any questions that may come up about their operation. Granges and other organizations often open their doors to visitors so they can inform them about their activities. Volunteer fire departments and emergency care units are also available to share information about the services offered and give tours of their facilities. The Heart of Ohio Tour is a great opportunity for a family outing in the fall, with much to see, do and learn. Signs are posted along the tour route. The 2016 Heart of Ohio Tour begins at Morgan Grange near Utica, and takes you the central eastern portion of the County in the Gambier area.  The tour includes the following stops:


1. Morgan Grange, 3340 Morgan Center Road, Utica 43080
One thriving local service organization that has certainly stood the test of time is the Morgan Grange.  For 142 years, Morgan Grange has been a place of community gatherings and source of numerous community service projects.


2. Glen Hill Orchard, 17156 Glen Road, Mount Vernon 43050
The orchard, first planted in 1912 and re-established in 1976, is trying a trellis system with 800 trees that will grow up more than they will grow out.  The trellis offers support to the trees, and their limbs will be pruned back shorter.  This increases the amount of fruiting wood per tree, while allowing more trees-per-acre.


3. Hopewell United Methodist Church, 20220 Hopewell Road, Mount Vernon 43050
A century-old church in Pleasant Township will be one of the unique stops visitors will see.  Hopewell United Methodist Church has been a close-knit, community-friendly congregation for generations.  It's a small church building with a small congregation; but they're big on life and have a big heart for the community.


4. Josh & Jade Laymon, 20885 Lee Wolfe Road, Gambier 43022
85-acre beef cattle farm.  The Laymon's began their family-run farm 10 years ago, when the family settled in Gambier.  The couple and their four children, Emma, Sam, Jack, and Joe, have been loving their rural lifestyle ever since.


5. Big Run Road Access & Bridge, 8921 Big Run Road, Gambier 43022
This is not a big park, but it has a shelter house and a place along the Kokosing River to launch canoe or kayak.  The site is part of the Kokosing River Water Trail that extends downstream to the confluence with the Mohican River.


6. Kokosing Gap Trail, 297 Duff Street, Gambier 43022
The locomotive, coal tender, flatcar, and caboose at this stop pay homage to the history of the Kokosing Gap Trail.  The bike path, part of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail, is built on the historic railroad right-of-way through Knox County.


7. Tim & Heidi Norris, 21495 Zion Road, Gambier 43022
Tim and Heidi Norris, along with their son, Eli, operate the small modern grain farm and grow approximately 450 acres of corn and soybeans of their own.  They do another 550 acres of custom planting and harvesting for two other growers around Gambier.  The Norris property is the first Knox County farm to have an agricultural conservation easement, a voluntary deed restriction stating that the land must be maintained for agricultural use and can never be developed.


8. Knox Woods State Nature Preserve / Angels of Remembrance Memorial, 17604 Coshocton Road, Mount Vernon 43050
It's part of the oldest park in the Knox County Park District System, Wolf Run, and even predates the park, but is often overlooked by visitors to the 288-acre park.  Knox Woods State Nature Preserve is a mixed hardwood forest dominated by exceptionally large sugar maple, black oak, shagbark hickory, and black walnut.  Large tulip trees, black gum, white oak, white ash, and wild black cherry are also present.  Many of the ash trees have died because of the emerald ash borer.

Also on this stop is the Remembrance Garden, created by Compassionate Friends, an organization for people who have lost a child.  The centerpiece is a 17-foot granite angel surrounded by bricks that memorialize a child's name and memory.