Open June – Halloween 10am – 5pm DAILY, Tues & Thurs 10AM – 6PM

35669 Detroit Rd, Avon, OH 44011 | 440-937-5155

History

Pickering Hill Farms has its roots deeply embedded in the mid-1800s, beginning with Jack Pickering’s journey from England to establish a ranch and meat business. The legacy continued with his son Frank, who expanded into vegetable farming, catering to the west side communities of Cleveland. In the 1930s, Frank set up a market on the current site to showcase his produce.

The farm’s stewardship passed through the generations, with John Pickering taking the helm in the 1960s. Recognizing the need to accommodate Avon’s expanding community, John’s son Jay constructed a modern 6,000 square foot market in 1997.

Shortly thereafter, Jay’s wife, Lill, left her job to oversee the market operations while raising their 4 kids. Today, the Pickering family proudly continues this tradition as Jay and Lill’s son, Jason, recently joined full-time in 2022 to help with the operations both on the farm and in the market.

Pickering Hill Farms Today

Today, Pickering Hill Farms thrives on two distinct plots of land: the ancestral farm and market nestled on Pickering Hill in Avon, and the expansive farmland owned by Jay and Lill in Grafton Township. The Avon site, a cherished 12 acres originally farmed by Frank, benefits immensely from its unique location. Set upon one of Lake Erie’s ancient beaches, the land boasts sandy soil, offering superb drainage and an ideal environment for cultivating our delicate fruits and vegetables. The close proximity to Lake Erie grants us a natural shield against frost during the crucial transition seasons of spring and fall, making it the perfect setting for our earliest sweet corn and a variety of other crops like tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries.

 

Meanwhile, the Grafton Township farm, positioned 20 miles south of Avon and home to Lill and Jay, is a testament to our dedication to sustainable growth. Acquired in 1992 to counteract the loss of leased farmland to residential development in Avon, this 50-acre land is vital for our mid to late season sweet corn. The soil here, enriched by sediments from the nearby east branch of the Black River, has a unique gravelly texture, ideally retaining moisture during the drier late summer months. During the peak of sweet corn season, Jay, accompanied by Jason and the family dogs, Barley and Tucker, begin each day by harvesting the freshest sweet corn and then transporting it directly to the market before opening.

Biographies

Lill and Jay

Lill and Jay are the heart and soul of the Grafton Farm, where they raised 4 children and still reside with their beloved dog, Barley. Their family is a true team. Their children, Ethan, Jason, Rachel, and Tessa, contributed to the farm’s daily life and operations while growing up. Jay, the driving force behind the farm, also shared his passion for knowledge as a Chemistry and Physics teacher at Lorain High School until his retirement in January of 2021. His academic journey led him from a B.A. at The College of Wooster to a Master’s Degree from Bowling Green State University. Lill, on the other hand, is the mastermind behind the bustling market, her expertise backed by a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cleveland State University. Together, they weave the fabric of a life deeply connected to the land, education, and community.

Jason Pickering

 Jason joined the business full-time in June of 2022 after working as an MEP Engineer. Growing up, he never expected to come back and help continue the family business. However, after helping out every weekend during COVID while still being an engineer during the week, he finally realized his passion for farming and the business. There is something extremely gratifying about working with your hands and watching plants grow from a seed to food every season; something not easily replicated in many other careers. Jason currently lives in Lakewood and is a past President and member of the the Rotary Club of Lakewood & Rocky River Sunrise. Jason holds an M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

 

In Memory of John Pickering 1929 - 2003

 I would be remiss in creating this “about us page” if I did not tell you about my father John. He was the original face behind the current Pickering Hill Farms. He grew up helping his grandfather Frank on the farm and grew to love it. His intention was to be a full time farmer and to that end he earned a degree in agriculture from Ohio State. (He always talked about having Woody Hayes as a history professor while at Ohio State.) Farming had to be part time though; the cost of raising a family and the inconsistencies of farming income forced him to become a teacher. He ended up really enjoying teaching and did it for 31 years, 9 years at Clearview High School and 22 at Avon High School retiring in 1991. During this time, he kept farming and in the mid 1970’s he began to run the old market, which for a few years, was run by my grandparents, Lavern and Catherine. My father loved growing things, but admittedly, did not enjoy the selling part as much. That became my niche. He was a humble guy who believed in people, a handshake and a promise were all that should be needed. He taught and lived his life that way. In this section are a couple of newspaper clippings about him that summarize him well. Please click on them to read more.

– Jay

In Memory of Karel Pickering 1940 - 2022

Karel Pickering, Jay’s mother, was a cherished figure on the farm. Karel passed away in April of 2022. Karel embodied the spirit of community service and stayed actively involved in the lives of those around her after retiring from running the farm market. Her days were filled with meaningful activities, from delivering Meals on Wheels to local seniors to brightening days with visits to residents in local nursing homes. Moreover, Karel dedicated her time and energy to the Avon United Methodist Church, remaining a beacon of compassion and community support. Her presence and commitment enriched not just the farm but also the broader community.

Employees

Our customers frequently express their appreciation for our exceptional team, and we wholeheartedly agree. We’re proud to have a crew of remarkable individuals. While faces may change from season to season, with some team members pursuing higher education or embarking on different career paths, the legacy of dedication and excellence remains constant. We’ve been incredibly lucky to attract and work with intelligent, compassionate individuals who excel in every aspect of our operations, from the bustling market to the vibrant fields. Their hard work and commitment are the backbone of our success, and we are truly grateful for their contributions.