At Malabar Farm, every person, pig and plant serves a purpose; even waste fuels the farm. Overripe vegetable scraps and leftovers feed pigs. Animal manure is composted and used to amend the soil and help plants thrive and grow naturally. Soy beans become bio-diesel fuel for the farm's tractors. All-natural vegetables and farm-raised beef, poultry and pork are served just across the street to guests of Malabar Farm Restaurant and are available for visitors to purchase at the gift shop. Even the lush maple trees that dot the farm produce syrup that is used in the restaurant and is also available in the gift shop.
Conservation doesn’t apply just to the animals and plants. Even the Education Center at Malabar Farm features earth-friendly construction and hands-on activities, exhibits and events that teach sustainable practices. With education being key the farm's mission, exhibits and demonstrations explain the benefits of techniques like crop rotation, no-till planting, strip cropping, contour plowing, green manure, wind breaks, cover crops, water conservation and minimizing energy inputs. Even the building is a testament to conservation, incorporating the best of green technology, from a solar-powered, wireless weather station to a hybrid energy system of solar panels. Six recycled plastic rain barrels collect rain water for plants. A solar-powered trash compactor slashes waste from five 30-gallon trash containers into just one. A tank-free hot water heater also cuts energy use. And a UV light wastewater treatment and a micro-hydroelectric system are in the works.
Malabar Farm doesn’t just educate and demonstrate, it provides visitors with a destination experience unlike any other. Stunning, pastoral scenery; guided tours of the home and farm; hiking, winter cross country skiing; horseback trails; hayrides; square dancing; memorable special and seasonal events; fishing and camping engage guests. Visitors can even help out with hands-on farm chores, such as milking a cow or goat; collecting fresh eggs; building a bird or bat house; digging worms or feeding chickens and ducks.
Travelers can stay in a hostel: browse the library; hold weddings and reunions at the farm; attend naturalist programs; sample homemade fudge; stargaze or visit the Wetlands Observation Pier, maple sugar house or Ohio Songbird Aviary. It's easy for visitors to take home their own little piece of Malabar, with fresh produce, maple syrup, meats, eggs and more that was produced at the farm for sale in the gift shop or farm stand.
Malabar Farm's roots of practicing and preaching sustainable farming grow long and deep. The farm's history is as storied as its father; Pulitzer Prize-winning author and screenwriter Louis Bromfield. A pioneer in the best farming practices, Bromfield built the farm in 1939, selecting the site for its pastoral, rolling splendor. He named it Malabar, Indian for "beautiful valley," after traveling the Indian continent. He was one of the first farmers of the day to ban pesticides and chemical use on the farm.
Many of Bromfield's acclaimed books, including The Green Bay Tree, The Farm and Pleasant Valley feature Mansfield and Malabar Farm. Bromfield's work on major motion pictures led to his strong relationships with the likes of James Cagney, Shirley Temple, Erol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Luminaries loved visiting the farm for its quiet respite from the Hollywood hubbub. In fact, Bogey & Bacall married at Malabar in 1945. Jimmy Cagney sold produce at the vegetable stand. The farm continued its movie star history in 1994, serving as a backdrop for scenes in the cult film favorite, The Shawshank Redemption, starring Timothy Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
The activities at Malabar Farm are endless and also include barn dances, a Maple Syrup Festival, Heritage Days and annual plays in the barn. For the 2011 fall season, they will be featuring “Louie,” in early October.
Beyond Malabar Farm, Mansfield, Ohio offers a wealth of other unusual travel adventures, including everything from overnight ghost hunts in a haunted former state prison to a museum that houses the world’s first robot. A destination unlike any other, the area’s world-class motorsports, breathtaking scenery and rural and hometown experiences are complimented by hiking, biking, golf, cross-country and downhill skiing, bird watching and loads more unique adventures. For complete travel information or to order a Visitors Guide, consumers can or visit www.MansfieldTourism.com (www.MansfieldTourism.com/