Union Rural Electric Cooperative

Suburban Columbus

Since electric co-ops were first established during the 1930s, they have served mainly rural areas of the United States.

“We continually beat the drum among our members about what the co-op is,” says Phil Caskey, president and CEO of Consolidated Cooperative, which serves eight counties in north-central Ohio. Caskey says that many residents of suburban areas, as well as former suburbanites who move into rural areas, are unaware of the differences between electric co-ops and large, privately owned electric utilities. In addition, rural co-op members tend to have a better understanding of the co-op’s place in the community, he says.

A man grabbing an apple on a tree.

Clusters of apples begin to decorate trees in Dennis Thatcher’s orchard throughout each spring and early summer, promising the reward of sweet fruit and jugs of freshly pressed cider in the fall.

Thatcher and his wife, Angela, who reside in rural western Logan County and who are members of Logan County Electric Cooperative, established Thatcher Farm in 1972, when he planted a few apple trees. Today, the farm has more than 420 trees that produce 25 varieties.

A kid pushes a button while a man looks on behind him.

Manufacturers throughout the state open their doors to the public, offering tours to demonstrate how they produce everything from modern vehicles to old-school items and providing prime examples of the Buckeye work ethic.

Plan ahead: Since production schedules can affect factory tour availability, always call to confirm dates and times.

Rebecca and Ben Wever smile with their two sons.

Rebecca and Ben Wever, members of Marysville-based Union Rural Electric Cooperative (URE), attended their first co-op annual meeting this year, and they say it got them thinking more about the electricity they use.

Rebecca says she and Ben are keenly aware of events and factors that affect their energy bill, so the meeting was of particular interest. “My husband and I may be a little bit unusual there, but we want to protect our piece of paradise,” she says. “We always want to know why we pay what we do.”

7 bottles of Ravenhurst products sit side-by-side.

When the Directors Guild of America recently presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ridley Scott, the Hollywood banquet featured wines from Ohio’s Ravenhurst Champagne Cellars.

Shipping Ohio wines to California may seem counterintuitive, but for Ravenhurst vintner Chuck Harris, the Guild’s order acknowledged that he and his wife, Nina Busch, produce premium estate wines amid Union and Hardin counties’ farm fields near Mt. Victory. “It shows that great wine is great wine regardless of where it comes from,” he says.

Dawn and Carson Combs pose for a figure alongside jars of products.

When Dawn Combs whips up an herbal matcha for visitors at Mockingbird Meadows Farm, she starts by selecting one of the jars arrayed on simple wooden shelves in the space of her home that serves as a combination shop, herb apothecary, and classroom.

The jars, called TEAshots, are powdered herb blends she developed from whole plants — including bark and roots — she and husband, Carson, raise at Mockingbird Meadows.