Early 1900's Four generations ago, Wishwell Farms began with just a few cows. Needing an outlet for the extra milk, the second eldest Wish son, Frank Wish, started Hopewell Dairy. 1963 Wishwell Farms builds state of the art dairy facility, milking over 100 holsteins 1990 Wish's start selling extra sweet corn from the family patch 1998 Produce sales move from family garage to current location 2001 The 100 cow dairy is sold to concentrate on fruit and vegetable production. 2001 First greenhouse erected for hydroponic tomato production. 2002 Old family recipe for sweet pepper relish was processed large scale from vegetables grown on the farm. 2003 Response was so amazing from sweet pepper relish, a hot pepper version was added. 2009 Half acre high tunnel erected for early tomatoes and everbearing strawberries 2010 Wishwell Farms expands to 3 retail locations, and 14 Farmers' Markets in 4 counties.
Wishwell Farms began as a dairy and grain operation four generations ago. The grain operation still remains an integral part of the farm. However, after the dairy was sold in 2001, the farm began raising vegetables for the fresh market, with over 99% being marketed directly to consumers through numerous retail outlets; the main one being the farm market on US route 68 just north of Bellefontaine. The remaining 1% is sold direct to a small supermarket chain and several restaurants.
What began as a way to get rid of extra sweet corn from the family patch in the 1990’s has grown into a substantial business. Not only did it help pay for college tuition, it has become a full time career for Jason Wish and his family, employing around 20 part time workers during the summer months, and up to as many as 35 during strawberry season.
The name “Wishwell”, which is obviously derived from our last name, also has some historical meaning as well. Frank Wish started a milk bottling company in Bellefontaine in the 1930’s, called “Hopewell Dairy”, using the milk from the original Wish dairy. Because the name “Hopewell” was already in use, the Wish dairy decided to use the name “Wishwell”. The name “Hopewell” comes from the Hopewell Indians who once inhabited the area.
In 1998 the produce sales at Wishwell Farms moved from the family garage to its current location on US Route 68. The vegetables are grown on approximately 75 acres of land, and in several greenhouses. The most popular items being sweet corn, tomatoes and strawberries, but also include summer and winter squash, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, melons, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and pumpkins. Wishwell Farms also provides many other fruits and vegetables at their market that are not grown on the farm.
The growth of the market has been consumer driven. Wishwell Farms takes pride in providing its customers with only the highest quality produce. Special attention is given to the varieties chosen to plant in order to grow only the most flavorful, and best looking produce anywhere. Each year something new is added to the market mix to meet demand and promote growth. In 2002, an old family recipe for sweet pepper relish was processed on a large scale from the vegetables grown on the farm. The response was so amazing that a hot version was added the following year.
In 2011 we opened our own certified kitchen in our old milk house, where we now process all of our own relish in small batches. New for 2012, we will growing a half acre of soil grown tomatoes in a covered high tunnel with half of that being heated. This will allow us to have more homegrown tomatoes in addition to our hydroponic tomatoes during June and July, and rely less on Tennessee tomatoes.