Juli Hamilton (right) stands beside her  mother Carol Doner at the Peony Festival. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Juli Hamilton (right) stands beside her mother Carol Doner at the Peony Festival. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – For those selling vegetable and flower plants and promoting garden plant products, this year’s Peony Festival has just the right timing, says Van Wert’s Juli Hamilton.

Hamilton, who started and manages her own business, Something from the Garden, brought many of her products from her business, located at the corner of Stripe Road and U.S. 224, to Fountain Park for display and to enjoy the atmosphere of this year’s Peony Festival.

“Farmers and gardeners are aware of challenging moments and teaching moments,” said Hamilton of this spring’s wet season. “Now things have started to come when we can plant. As gardeners, we still get to enjoy our backyards. As far as vegetables go, if we are just planting, we might want to put in some earlier crops with shorter growing seasons at this point.”

“This is not the year to put a freezer full of sweet corn away,” added Hamilton. “Sweet corn could be pretty pricey. Just enjoy what you get at the family table.”

Hamilton came from a big family farm managed by her parents, Kenny and Carol Doner. Following school, she went to Colorado for 10 years to study horticulture. Eventually she came back and took over her grandparents’ farm.

“A year later I got hit with the big tornado,” said Hamilton. “That changed the landscape. It took a lot to rebuild the farm.

“As I got closer to 40, I decided to turn my hobby into a business,” continued Hamilton. “I opened Something from the Garden in 2012.”

The result was that she enrolled the Economic Development’s Small Business Challenge and was declared the winner.

Hamilton referred to her business as a farm market that offers season fresh produce, maple syrup, brown eggs, locally produced products, and many Amish-made products.

“We feature SchoolHouse Farms popcorns, sunflower products and their new lineup of gourmet birdseed blends,” said Hamilton.

“The fresh side of the market is busy from early spring thru early winter. We attend and promote the local farm market through expanded market awareness in the community, which builds up the local small farms,” continued Hamilton.

“We offer many great local crafters and creators, bakers, and jam makers. We carry Amish style products like Walnut Creek Foods and Troyer Cheese products,” she added.

Hamilton noted that one of the major keys in her business is perseverance.

“You’ve got to go with the flow and let the little things set you back,” Hamilton said. “The last five years I have been gardening on straw bales. If you can’t get into the ground, you go above the ground.”