Rainbow Farms is a first generation family owned and operated farm purchased in 1983 by Larry and Tina Klco. Their four children (as well as their in-laws and grandchildren!) have grown up helping with all the work as well as sharing in the joys of owning a farm.
When the farm was started in 1983, Larry worked at a local factory along with the farm work in order to grow the business. All of his family worked alongside him with a common goal between them. Strawberries were the first crop, and cantaloupes, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, broccoli, cauliflower and pumpkins were also grown not long after. The only farm market was Willoughby Outdoor Farm Market for many years. Produce was also sold wholesale.
Additional crops were added as the farm grew. Black and red raspberries for pick your own were next, followed by blackberries. As demand grew for fresh produce, more outdoor farmer’s markets were opened and Rainbow Farms joined several. Presently they sell at five outdoor farmer’s markets per week, though at one point they had reached a high of nine per week. The pick your own trade is still a big part of Rainbow Farms. Their pick your own crops include: strawberries, raspberries, currants, tomatoes, peppers and thornless blackberries.
Rainbow Farms now grows over 40 different fruits and vegetables for sale. Within that are over 200 different varieties. Larry now works the farm full-time, assisted by his wife (and grown children as they are available). Also several part-time workers help with all the many jobs. Teens are employed to pick berries in the summer and help with sales at the many farm markets where produce is sold.
Because of their commitment to the farm and the environment, Larry and Tina sought to preserve their land as a farm forever. In 2005, their farm became the first farm in Lake County to be preserved as a permanent farm under Farmland Preservation. In addition, they use as many land-friendly sustainable techniques as possible including the use of drip tape for irrigation and the planting of cover crops to prevent erosion.
For years, they sold their produce at the farm in Perry in a small open- air roadside stand. In 2010 their indoor farmers market opened, fulfilling a long term goal to keep their produce fresher and preserve the high vitamin and mineral content of the fruits and vegetables, not to mention the great flavor. In 2013, they started selling year round using a variety of season-extending processes such as heated greenhouse production, high-tunnel production, and field low-tunnel production.
Larry and Tina’s goal is to always provide the highest quality and best tasting, fresh, locally grown produce to their customers, using organic and biological pest controlling techniques as much as possible. They enjoy getting to know their customers and answering any questions they have about fruits and vegetables, recipes, and the health benefits of eating fresh. They believe in the motto “Farmers are instruments of good health”.