Written by Kayla Walls
September 1, 2016
If you are anything like me, you love teaching, you love agriculture, and you love Ohio. So when you combine those three things all together, the love exponentially grows when you get to teach people about agriculture in Ohio. So here we go: below are 6 agricultural commodities that you didn’t know Ohio was good at producing.
- Swiss Cheese
Yep, you read that right. Producing that holey cheese that tastes kind of funny is actually something that Ohio excels at. In fact, Ohio is the #1 producer of Swiss Cheese in the United States. In 2012, Ohio produced 138 million pounds of Swiss Cheese which was more than ⅓ of the nation’s total output. Ohio is also credited with the creation of the cheese when Swiss immigrants that lived in Holmes and Tuscarawas Counties began production back in 1850. Today, the largest all-natural swiss cheese producing company is nestled right in Brewster, Ohio.
Spaghetti, pizza, chips and salsa, and hot dogs just wouldn’t be the same without one thing: tomatoes. Numerous people grow tomatoes in their own backyards but the production in the buckeye state well exceeds that. Did you know that Ohio is the 3rd largest producer of tomatoes in the United States and, in turn, houses the world’s largest ketchup factory in Fremont, Ohio. This fancy fruit packs a punch of vitamins and the best part for you health conscious people out there: it’s only 35 calories!
Some of you (myself included) might ask, what exactly is a “chestnut”? According to Merriam-Webster, a chestnut is “the nut off of a chestnut tree.” Thanks, Merriam-Webster.
Do yourself a favor and Google a picture of a chesnut. You’ll notice that they look similar to buckeyes, which is ironic because Carrollton, Ohio is home to Empire Chestnut Company, one of the few commercial sized chestnut orchards in the world. It’s so big that annually they produce between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds of chestnuts. That’s a lot of nuts.
Who doesn’t love Halloween? And let’s be honest, the spooky holiday wouldn’t be right without the orange squash plant cultivar that people like to carve faces in for some reason. Almost every public school in Ohio takes a field trip to a pumpkin patch each fall, but why? One reason is because it’s fun. Another reason is because they’re everywhere! Ohio has hundreds pumpkin patches and in 2013, Ohio pumpkin farmers produced 100.4 million pounds of pumpkins. O-H!
- Christmas Trees
Speaking of holidays, several carols like “Oh Christmas Tree” wouldn’t even exist without Ohio. (Maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the point.) People often forget about Christmas Tree production outside of the month of December when actually, Ohio has over 400 Christmas Tree producers arranged all across the state.
Regardless, without Ohio there would be countless little ones unable to experience the joy of rooting under the tree for presents on Christmas Day.
“Ohio? 400 for you, Ohio. You go, Ohio.”
“And none for Michigan. Bye.”
With our 28 million laying hens and nearly 8 million pullets, it’s not surprising when you learn that Ohio is the number 2 producer of eggs in the United States. It is an industry of nearly $523 million annually and employs tens of thousands of Ohioans. Also, shoutout to Mercer and Darke Counties in Midwest Ohio who are the top two egg producing counties in the entire United States!
Whether you like them scrambled or sunny side up, next time you crack open a nice fresh egg, thank Ohio egg producers for the deliciousness you are about to devour.
Well folks, there you have it: 6 agricultural products that you didn’t know Ohio was really good at producing. Next step: go tell your non-Ohioan friends because if there’s anything that Ohioans are really, REALLY good at, it’s telling people how awesome our state is.
Ohio wins again.