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Root Down Acres

Wes and Missy Kroninger found their dream farm and the animals to go with it
Photo courtesy of Wes & Missy Kroninger

Wes and Missy Kroninger bought 17-acres near Springfield, Ohio in 2011 to fulfill Missy’s lifelong dream of raising animals and living off the land. When Missy fell in love with a sweater made from alpaca fiber, she decided this was an animal she wanted to raise. They now have over a-dozen alpacas, and sell the yarn and roving to crafters.

Missy says they want to make the most of the natural offerings on their farm and be as self-sufficient as possible. For example, she’s learning to dye the alpaca fiber herself using plants.

"I harvested bags and bags of pokeberries, they grow wild along the edges of our pastures and the edges of the woods," says Missy. "They make really pretty shades of magenta to a dark red. I’ve also been collecting walnuts. I’m going to plant some flowers to make dye."

Missy takes her responsibility as a steward of the land into consideration with every management decision made on the farm. She’s drawing on her experience as an environmental scientist to improve pastures, wildlife habitat, and restore the native plant species.

"Mushroom inoculation and things like that in the woods, so kind of some agroforestry," says Missy. "There’s some native fruit trees called paw paw trees. They make this strange little custardy fruit that tastes kind of tropical. We want to plant things like that in the woods, so we do plan to farm in some way, the whole 17-acres."

The couple has also built a small country store in their barn. They sell the alpaca wool, eggs from their chickens, and other things that Missy has made by hand. Missy says some day when she gets the time, she plans to make and sell bird nesting boxes to promote wildlife conservation.

Visit Wes and Missy on their farm, Root Down Acres

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