April and Jason Gray, owners of Harvest House, have expanded their organic farm with a mobile unit to serve Van Wert residents better. (Photo submitted)
April and Jason Gray, owners of Harvest House, have expanded their organic farm with a mobile unit to serve Van Wert residents better. (Photo submitted)

CONVOY – About a year ago, April Gray and her husband Jason decided to take their love for organic farming and share it with the community. They began Harvest House, a member-only farmer market, that has now grown to incorporate a mobile unit.

“The organic is our little niche,” said Gray. “Our family eats all organic for the most part, no preservatives, no chemicals. We started our orchard and farm about three years ago. We had people pulling in asking if our produce was going to be available to the public.”

Gray referrers to the members as farm-ily members. Members can participate in two seasons that run April through November where they will receive a crate a week full of organic fruits and veggies, as well as fresh bread and eggs

Farming for Gray makes sense. She was raised on a farm in Convoy and has always enjoyed the concept of farming, but it wasn’t until she had kids who had some health issues that she decided that she would try organic for her family.

“We had some health issues,” said Gray. “Our kids had eczema, allergies, asthma, and we just found, as we started incorporating less chemicals and preservatives and eating more healthy and organic, that those things started to go away.”

Organic food, said Gray, is food that is produced without pesticides and chemicals sprayed on them and without chemicals in the soil for as natural a product as possible. Gray explained that organic foods have a much higher nutritional value than non-organic foods.

Gray said with as people became more interested in organic and healthy foods, their business grew. People who wanted to participate in Harvest House were put on a waiting list. To expand and help with this problem, Gray and her husband decided to create a mobile unit that will help them serve the community at a closer capacity.

“We came up with the mobile unit so that we could serve not only Van Wert, but we could go into Paulding or Mercer Counties if we needed to,” said Gray. “We had a concession trailer that was built for us. All of the crates each week that have all of the fruits, veggies and bread in it will be in the mobile unit. We also have everything from our store which includes granola, jams, jellies, coffees, and teas, that will be on our mobile unit as well.”

While much of the produce is sourced on the Harvest House farm, products like jams, jellies, coffees and teas are sourced from other organic farms and small businesses.

“It’s really neat; it’s one of my favorite things besides working with the costumers,” said Gray of working with other small businesses. “All of the places that I get things from, from our teas to our coffees are small farms. Just having that relationship is great.”

Prior to Harvest House, Gray was a teacher for 10 years until she decided to become a stay at home mom where she cares for her two children. Gray is currently enrolled in New Eden School of Natural Health and is working on her PhD in Natural Medicine.

“My dad passed away from cancer and there was a lot of questions of what’s going on?” said Gray. “That kind of inspired me to eat healthier, eat better and to not put any harmful chemicals in my body. I just wanted to get our family really healthy.”

“Switching to all organic and having to prepare it can be a big deal,” added Gray. “A famous quote is, ‘Whoever thought that spraying toxins on our food was a good idea?’ Most of those chemicals are cancer causing agents.”

The mobile unit will be parked on Westwood Drive at Northwest Trophy every Tuesday starting April 10 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

More information on Harvest House, including pricing of crates and sizes, can be found on the Harvest House advertisement in Wednesday’s print edition on page 11.