Big Frog, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County and Wagner Farms want you to meet the hard working families keeping us fed and clothed. This week we salute Wagner Farms in Rome.

Full disclosure, Wagner Farms is one of Big Frog's sponsors for this program, "Meet a CNY Farmer." And we also sponsor activities at their Event Center. But we feel Ron Wagner's unique farming operation was a story well worth telling.

Often our Central New York Farms have stood the test of time with several generations of one family at the helm. But Wagner Farms was born from a 7th grade FFA project, that would blossom into a farm on Old Oneida Road in Rome after Ron Wagner's graduation in 1998. If Wagner Farms had a nickname it should probably be "adapting." Over the course of 22 years, the farm has been home to a greenhouse, grain production, growing produce, a figgery, agri-tourism, and an Events Center.

The farm still some of nearly all of those things, but the figgery.  Ron grows corn and sorghum but not necessarily for the commodity market. The corn is sold as an alternative heating method for homes and the sorghum will be combined with seeds from a huge sunflower field to make birdseed.

Wagner Farms is probably best known for produce. They grow nearly every vegetable you can think of, here are just some them:

  • Zucchini
  • Sweet Corn
  • Potatos
  • Peppers
  • Egg Plant
  • Pumpkins
  • Squash
  • onions
  • garlic
  • cucumbers
  • U-Pick Blackberries

Over the last couple of years, Wagner Farms has adapted from operating farmer markets to running their own store with their produce, and products from other farms like; cheese, honey, maple syrup, local meat, Christmas trees and wreaths. The last couple of years has seen the addition of a large popcorn field that Wagner says saved the farm following two years of floods and the loss of 40 acres of farm land he had been leasing.

The latest foray at Wagner Farms is agri-tourism. There's a farmer's museum. wagon rides, haunted tours, corn mazes, the sunflower fields, and lighted hiking trails at night. The Sunflower Fields are even planted to catch sunsets for the perfect selfie and professional photos. The farm also added an Event Center within the last 6 months featuring live local bands beginning this weekend (July 31 and August 1). You can get the complete lineup of events and bands on their Facebook Page.

Despite all the projects and activities at Wagner Farms, it's operated just by Ron and his mother, Judy. The farm is located at 5841 Old Oneida Rd, in Rome and is open year round, summer hours are 9 am - 6 pm and winter hours 10 am - 6 pm.

To this dynamic duo, we say thanks for providing us with freshly grown crops, entertainment on the weekends, and one important lesson in life. Hard work, perseverance, and ingenuity always wins.

Know a farmer we should add to our list? Here's the nomination form, or send info on our Facebook page, our mobile app, or email polly@bigfrog104.com. Meet a Farmer is also made possible by New York Farm Net, a program of Cornell, Harbor Point MineralsWhite's Farm Supply, and the US Army.

Want to take your support of Central New York farmers to the next level? The Save Our Farms, Save Our Food campaign with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County is offering a custom designed T-Shirt supporting farmers with any $25 donation. Get more info and order yours at CCEOneida.com

Photo Credit - Cornell Cooperative Extension