We are Jeff Wince and Chad Snelling, owners of Tilton Hollow Farm in Ohio. We are celebrating our 24th year as a couple! Jeff still works a fulltime job in the city, while Chad is at the farm fulltime. Together, we run our farm, we have insanely busy lives, but our life on the farm is more rewarding than we ever imagined. Our farm was originally founded in 1823 by the Tilton family. We honor them in the name of the farm and in the way we farm. We use traditional methods wherever possible and try to leave the land better than we find it.
We hope to continue the proud tradition of farming this beautiful property, and to grow/raise our own food in a humane/ethical way...and educate and encourage others to do the same...and to raise awareness of the benefits of supporting local humane/ethical farms. We treat our animals with respect and a lot of love to give them wonderful lives in return for the wonderful products they help us create!
We have a herd of very spoiled dairy goats, chickens, heritage breed turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, sheep, bees, even an Alpaca (Ivy, a real sweetheart
So how did all of this come to be? Well..
We met in January of 1994 (don't worry, we'll skip ahead quickly) and mostly lived in the suburbs, while Chad had dreams of living in NYC, Jeff always wanted a place in the country, with goats and chickens, and Chad always thought he would rather have bamboo shoots under his fingernails than that. Chad had spent most of his life pursuing his passion of music/songwriting, playing in bands and releasing solo albums under the name Chad Eric (search the web/iTunes etc... you'll find him still lurking there), while Jeff had gotten into a good position with a large financial institution and also returned to college with a major in environmental science. While living in Columbus, Ohio they always had a fairly large garden and loved growing their own vegetables and herbs, and Jeff especially was getting even more interested in having a country place. In late 2010, Jeff's "country fever" was back in a big way, and he did some web searching and found a house on 34 acres, it's called the "Adams-Gray House" a big old mansion near Dresden/Adams mills, Ohio. Jeff was enamored with it, Chad went into a full-body sweat over the thought of a creepy old mansion in Dresden Ohio, I mean what could be further from the glitz of NYC? So as the weeks passed Jeff went to see the house and tried to get Chad to see it, and they fought, and fought, and fought (you get the idea) Chad can occasionally be a bit stubborn and a tad (just a tad) neurotic, think George Costanza, just cuter. During all of this Jeff had started to try to woo Chad with the country/farm idea by buying a book called "The Bucolic plague" by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (one half of The Fabulous Beekman boys, Google them) and having Chad watch the Fabulous Beekman Boys reality show on Planet Green TV. Chad finally started to come around to the idea, but still not a fan of the Dresden house; it needed a lot of work, a lot of work. Jeff meanwhile continued his web search, and saw another house but for one reason or another thought Chad might not like it, or it might not be quite right. Then in December 2010 at Christmas party at their house in Columbus, Chad's sister Terri mentioned a house she had seen online, so out came the laptop and they searched the listing, and there it was! (the house Jeff had seen earlier) a beautiful house and property that looked like it was right out of a fairytale (how fitting) it didn't have a garage or master bath (like spoiled city kid Chad was used to) and it was on a dirt road, and seemed really expensive, but wow! so beautiful, inside and out, 2 ponds a big barn, a small barn, a stream, a big elegant country kitchen with island, beautiful original hardwood floors and high ceilings, all nestled in a beautiful valley or "Hollow". So later that month they went to see it, as soon as they walked in they wanted to turn around, go home to get their stuff and the dogs and move in, but of course the then current owners might not have appreciated that, so they went the traditional "buy the house before you move in" route. Jeff was almost spinning and twirling with delight, while Chad was cautiously hopeful, between periods of nausea and sweats. But they day finally came to make the move, it felt like home from the first second, and before long more residents moved in, to the barn that is, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, and then finally the goats! the alpaca, hogs, and cows! The name as you may have already read somewhere, comes from the family that built the house and established the farm in 1823, the Tilton family, from the design of the house, to the location it's clear they were people with vision, they even had a name for the farm "Shepherd Valley", We hope they would be proud of what we are doing with the farm that they put so much love and hard work into. We feel like the luckiest guys on earth to get to wake up every day and continue the work of this farm. We have learned so much, about farming, ourselves, life, and we still learn new things every day. And we are fortunate to have wonderful neighbors who made us feel welcome in the area right from the beginning, after all when you live out here you have to be a community and look out for, and be ready to help each other. We are happier than we ever knew we could be, work harder than we ever knew we would, and have never known anything more rewarding. Well that's a condensed version of the story; you can read more about our first several months on the farm at Jeff's blogspot page. Thanks for reading our story, we hope you enjoy your virtual visit to our farm. -Jeff and Chad