Features

Warther Cutlery

A sharp business model

Ernest “Mooney” Warther began carving with his first pocketknife at age 5. A dozen years later, in 1902, he crafted his mother a kitchen knife as a gift. Her friends and neighbors liked it, so he made more. 

American steel, American hardware, American wood, Ohio labor, and blades with an amazingly attractive (trademarked since 1907) finish pattern create loyal customers who return regularly to add to their collections. If you visit the company’s new 15,000-square-foot showroom, factory, and office, you’ll find plenty of American-made kitchen products, including cookware and a small army of specialty foods, spices, and condiments. But you’ll quickly see that knives made by fourth-generation craftsmen are the star of the show.

The Christmas tree in the window of the rectory at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church

O Christmas Tree

Wooster Cemetery manager Kelvin Questel has an up-close view of the parade of visitors to one particular graveside each holiday season.

Although Questel is unsure when the tradition of trimming Imgard’s tomb-side tree began, he does know why the ritual is unique to Wooster: In 1847, Imgard was a 19-year-old immigrant from Germany living at his brother’s house in Wooster and grew homesick for his native country’s customs, especially around Christmastime. So, he went to the woods near Apple Creek, cut down a spruce tree, and positioned it in a window, adorned with nuts, apples, sweets, and candles. He even had a tinsmith make a star for the top of the tree.

A giant poinsettia tree at the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Night and day

By day inside Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, thousands of red, pink, and white poinsettias, a giant poinsettia tree, and gorgeous winter greenery create a festive holiday scene. 

The day-night double feature has grown into a much-adored extravaganza, and Karin Noecker loves every minute of it. 

“I’ve worked here at the conservatory for 18 years, and this is my most favorite time of year,” says Noecker, director of horticulture and exhibitions. “Everything is just so beautiful.”

Brewhaus Dog Bones, Cincinnati

Ohio Cooperative Living's 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

"Home for the holidays” takes on a whole new meaning when you choose gifts created by Ohio artisans, crafters, and makers. You’re supporting small businesses throughout the state, and you’ll impress everyone on your list  with items that are unique, innovative, and homegrown.

Brewhaus Dog Bones, Cincinnati 

A nonprofit organization founded by Lisa Graham, Brewhaus Bakery provides vocational training and employment for young adults with disabilities. Its handcrafted, small-batch dog bones are a healthy treat with ingredients including protein-rich spent grains sourced from local microbreweries and fresh eggs delivered by a Brown County farm. 513-551-7144. http://brewhausdogbones.com

Country Manor Mixes, Leesburg 

In his signature bib overalls and white shirt, Lee Jones slices open an heirloom tomato for customer Mara Ghafari.

Tiny, tasty, healthy

The specialty crops on Lee Jones’ 350-acre farm are myriad: beets, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, tomatillos, honey, potatoes, corn, beans, squash, edible flower blossoms — the list numbers into the hundreds. 

The pandemic, however, completely changed his business model. “We made a lot of lemonade last year trying to swing for base hits,” Jones says. “We had to, because we were desperate to keep the farm going and, most importantly, keep our team safe, fed, and employed.”

Jones says he’s proud to have kept 136 families gainfully employed through the pandemic. His family already lost one farm in the 1980s after a devastating hailstorm finished off what the 1980s American farm crisis had already begun, and so he was determined to make it work. 

He did it in ingenious fashion.

Turkeyville introduced dinner theater, complete with top-notch productions and a full buffet, to its menu in 1968.

Everyday Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving takes place nearly every day of the year at Cornwell’s Turkeyville, located approximately 45 miles north of the Ohio border near Marshall, Michigan.

The sprawling complex is home to a restaurant offering all-turkey entrées, as well as made-from-scratch sides and desserts. It also boasts a 5,000-square-foot Country Junction gift shop, an ice cream parlor, a professional dinner theater featuring talented actors and actresses from throughout the country, a 175-site campground complete with swimming pool, and an outdoor gazebo where musicians tune up their instruments on warm summer days. 

Paul Brown: Gridiron Great

Cleveland native and Hollywood actress Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle once told a joke about pro football coach Paul Brown: “A football player died and went to heaven.

The joke slyly illustrates the enormous impact and legacy Paul Brown had on the game of football. Pre-Brown, it was characterized mostly by brute force, with little intellectual finesse. Brown’s genius for innovation transformed it into the mental and analytical game that it is today. 

Inside The Anchorage

Haunted Marietta

Did you hear that?” my daughter, Rosie, asks as we climb a wooden staircase in the Anchorage, a former mansion on the outskirts of Marietta, in southeastern Ohio. “It sounded like a low grumble.”

History and hauntings

A healthy respect for the “other side” is well advised during a visit to Marietta, which dates to 1788 as the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. History and hauntings go hand in hand here, as the city’s storied, well-preserved past provides ghosthunters a spooky year-round playground.

Black Widow Spider

Creepy crawlies

Glacial ice and black widow spiders in Ohio — there’s a relationship. 

Several species of widow spiders exist in North America, and Ohio has two of them: the Northern Black Widow and the Southern Black Widow — and the fear that we hold in our hearts for both of them is rational and deserved.