photography by Amie Santavicca
In 2018 Westside Cincinnati produce staple Burwinkel Farms celebrated its 100th anniversary. Best known for its sweet corn, Burwinkel operates roadside stands in Cheviot, Colerain, White Oak, Delhi, Western Hills, Fairfield, Sharonville, and West Chester, in addition to its main farm in Ross, Ohio.
Not much has changed about the farm’s sweet corn growing and harvesting process since Edward Burwinkel began farming in 1918. Each ear is still hand picked and the crop is taste tested every morning. “The cost of labor with this method is higher versus machine pickers,” says Edward’s granddaughter Kate Burwinkel. “However, this harvesting practice ensures that the tender corn kernels are not bruised and enables us to grow more delicate corn varieties.” The farm continues to source from the same small seed company that Burwinkel used in the early 1900s.
What has changed is the variety of items Burwinkel grows. The farm now offers tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, zucchini, squash, apples, peaches, and more. In the fall, pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks—and fall festivities—adorn the fields. Although Burwinkel Farms is not certified organic, all fruits and vegetables are non-GMO, and Edward’s four grandchildren, who run the farm today, follow a minimal-use approach to chemical inputs.
“The food we grow is just like the homegrown produce you remember from your childhood,” Kate Burwinkel says. “We have so many customers who say, ‘Your tomatoes taste like a REAL tomato.’ We recognize that when you eat produce when it’s picked at its peak, it tastes better.”
To celebrate 100 years, the farm hosted a farm-to-table dinner in the middle of the cornfield last summer. Local chef Roger Hollstegge of Destinys Catering Inc. helped craft a homegrown menu highlighting fresh produce from Burwinkel and protein from Greystone Farms. In September, they hosted Sips in Sunflowers where visitors enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, live music, a silent auction and craft brews in the sunflower field. Proceeds were donated to a local food pantry and the local EB Hope Foundation. They intend to continue both events annually.
4359 Hamilton Cleves Road
Ross, OH 45013
Main farm stand: 9am–6pm daily, from mid-June–October
Sarah is a Cincinnati-based freelance writer and editor. She frequently writes about design, creative projects, and career advice. Prior to launching her own business in 2013, Sarah served as an editor for HOW magazine for 16 years. You can find her portfolio online and connect with her via LinkedIn @SarahMWhitman.