|Our Farm's Story|
Covered Bridge Gardens is located in the center of picturesque Ashtabula County. The 160 acres has been in the Prochko family for 80 years.
Through the years they have been know to be outstanding in their field.
We take farming seriously while growing a little whimsy.
The farm has been in the Prochko family three generations.
The story of what is today known as Covered Bridge Gardens begins over three-quarters of a century ago in 1936. That was the year Mike Prochko, Sr. purchased the 160-acre farm on Netcher Road in rural Jefferson Township. In 1946 he married Frances and started his family. The acreage became known as The Prochko Farm. Referred to as a true quarter section, the land is one of only a few in Ashtabula County that is close to being perfectly square in shape.
Originally the land was dedicated to general farming - the raising of cows, horses, and chickens, as well as corn, hay, and oats. Cows were hand milked and water was hand pumped from a well on the farm. Electric lines were installed in 1938 for just $125, bringing a much needed modern convenience to the homestead. Some of those original electric poles remain along Netcher road today.
Photoed here are Michael Sr.'s parents Stephen and Anna who also came to live and help on the farm. Look how proud they are of the tractor. Of course no farm would be complete without a farm dog. There have been many over the years as well as barn cats.
The next generation came along in 1947. This photo is of a proud father holding on to a little farmer, Michael, Jr. His mother Frances made his overalls to match his dad's. In the background is the original two-story barn on the farm. the barn has been replaced with the structures ablove.
Today the land is managed by Steven Prochko and his mother Kay Prochko. Sadly Michael (Mick) Prochko, Jr. passed away in July 2016.
The current farm's name comes from the striking red covered bridge spanning Mill Creek near the Netcher Road site. Visitors to the farm will pass through the bridge, constructed in 1998. It replaced a one lane cement structure. This bridge is number 16 of the 18 covered bridges in Ashtabula County. Check the calendar of events at www.VisitAshtabulaCounty.com for the dates for this year's Covered Bridge Festival held the second weekend in October. This is a great time to see the leaves changing in Northeast Ohio and join the local activities of the festival.
Over time the farm has gone through many changes from growing panies in the 40's to dairy production up untill 2000. TTen acres of the 160-acre spread is devoted to the growing of a wide variety of flowers and produce. Two greenhouses help to extend the growing season in spring and fall.The farm offers typical vegetables such as tomatoes,onions, and green peppers, and is known for their fresh cut flowers. In-season fresh cut flowers now donminate the growing with more blooms each year.
Fresh, locally grown produce has a more robust flavor than commercially grown, store bought vegetables. Great care is taken to add back micronutrients, such as sulphur and zinc, to the soil at Covered Bridge Gardens. This adds to the nutritional value and makes food healthier. A rich compost is utilized and crops are rotated each year to keep the soil from becoming overused.
The Prochkos personally deliver their produce to local farmers markets in Cleveland and Ashtabula. You can find them June through October, at the North Union Farmers' Market on Shaker Square in Cleveland on Saturdays from 8:00- noon and on Sundays at the Ashtabula Farmers' Market on Bridge Street in Ashtabula from 10:00-2:00.
Covered Bridge Gardens is rare in that it is one of very few multi-generational farms still in operation. Each generation as left it's mark on the farm. Where it will go in the future will be determined by the farmily to come. Steven now is the future, and with him the tradition will continue for more generations to come.