Why Loveland’s Boltz to Nutz Farm is an Accessible Getaway
At Boltz to Nutz Farm, there are 43 chickens. One of them is called Gloria. Gloria is partially paralyzed on one side. Her left leg is tilting inward since a raccoon bit her under her wing. As she goes to move, she wobbles.
Yvonne Boltz gives the hen an encouraging nod and Gloria finds her footing.
“Everyone belongs here, including our bird of determination,” said Yvonne, who owns and lives on this Loveland farm with her husband, Eric.
Boltz to Nutz Farm is a sustainability-focused farm that uses organic and biodiverse farming methods. Their wares are sold on Market Wagon, a service that allows customers to order treats from local farmers and artisans to be delivered right to their doorstep.
But at its roots, the farm is something bigger. The Boltzes strive to make Boltz to Nutz Farm a getaway for people with reduced mobility.
They do this by installing limestone ramps throughout the farm so that wheelchair users can easily get around to pick herbs, tour the greenhouse and pick up eggs from the coop. Near these ramps will be raised beds so that people in wheelchairs can pick the springing vegetables. They also plan to add a dock to the pond so everyone can fish.
But the farm’s current shining star is the kitchen. Here, the counters move up and down to the desired height at the push of a button. Flip another switch and the cabinets pull away from the wall towards you, close enough to be accessible from a wheelchair or walker. On the table are specialized tools that allow people with reduced mobility in the arms and hands to chop, slice, sear.
This month, the kitchen will be on display when the Boltzes offer two courses for people with disabilities.
The first, on August 14, is an “Intro to Cooking,” where the Boltzes and marketing director Abby Marsh will help individuals address the issues that keep them from cooking at home. Then, on August 28, the farm will host its first monthly cooking class. The idea is that people can learn how to cook and then take home several pre-prepared meals.
This approach has the advantage of offering significant savings to those who need the often expensive specialized equipment on hand on the farm to facilitate meal preparation. Simply put, the Boltze can help people figure out what’s best for them.
While many of their initiatives aim to create an accessible environment for people with reduced mobility, Yvonne and Eric point out that the farm is also designed to be a safe haven for anyone who is ailing.
The couple knows firsthand how love can get you through tough times. And now it’s their turn to put some of that love back into the world.
“You get happiness from helping others find happiness,” Eric said.
The Loveland couple create an accessible and inclusive farm for everyone
Eric Boltz became paralyzed in 2015. He now lives with his wife, Yvonne, on an inclusive and accessible 11-acre farm.
Amanda Rossmann, Cincinnati Investigator
Eric and Yvonne met at a small tech company in Albuquerque in 1996 and instantly formed a great team. They share a background in science, technology and engineering. (Eric has a PhD in materials science while Yvonne has a master’s in chemistry.)
Sometimes the two worked together on trade shows. They soon discovered that Yvonne’s outgoing personality complemented Eric’s soft side.
The friendship blossomed into something more after she moved to the Cincinnati area to work for the same company in West Chester.
In 2005, the couple bought the company and became co-owners. Around this time, the duo also started dating. Rather early, Eric proposed to Yvonne, and on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the lovebirds got married at the Iron Horse in Glendale.
Together they ran and eventually sold their successful business. Outside of work, Eric was a competitive cyclist and Yvonne was his cheerleader. They had two children, Max and Kay, and worked hard to create the kind of home where their children’s friends were always welcome.
But on the evening of September 24, 2015, their idyllic life changed.
It started off as a normal day. It was around 74 degrees outside, with clear skies and rising humidity.
Eric was on a routine bike trip, a 30 mile loop to downtown Cincinnati and back to his home in Madeira, something he had done countless times before.
When he reached the intersection of Erie Ave. and Delta Ave. in Hyde Park he moved to enter the left lane to overtake a stopped bus. He looked around and continued. He cleared the intersection and went to make eye contact with the bus driver. He was safe, he thought.
Suddenly an oncoming driver turned left. But the turn was short.
Yvonne was at home making meatloaf when she got the call.
“You need to get to UC Hospital right away,” the doctor at the scene told her. They had identified her husband by his Road ID.
She was seven minutes behind the ambulance and her husband as they drove to Clifton Trauma Centre.
When she arrived, Eric was already doing a CT scan.
The doctor later told Yvonne that her husband had no brain damage, but there was less than a 10% chance that he would ever walk again.
Eric told Yvonne that he knows how these things go. He knew he would be angry and resentful, that he would try to destroy their marriage. That would be over.
But Yvonne refused to accept this version of their reality. She had supported her husband in every cycle race, in their work, in all aspects of life. She wasn’t going to stop now.
“He’s still him,” she said.
That night, the couple made a pact to continue loving each other unconditionally. Yes, there can be grief and anger, but they knew they couldn’t control what was happening, only do their best to manage the change.
Just over a month later, when Eric came home from the hospital, the couple’s ninth wedding anniversary was fast approaching. With Eric recovering, there would be no fancy dinner or special night. Yvonne tried to think of what she could do.
And as the two cuddled up in her twin hospital bed at home, she asked him if he wanted to marry her again.
It was Eric’s turn to say yes.
The Boltze’s new life has not been easy. Eric had suffered a T3 complete spinal cord injury. Simply put, Eric can’t move anything from the bottom of his pectoral muscles down. Their house, which had not been made accessible, no longer felt like a home.
But they knew they could adapt and started looking for a new place to live. In 2019, their realtor found them an 11-acre lot in Loveland.
The plan was to build an accessible house from scratch. They thought they would have some gardens. Perhaps a handful of intrigue for Max, who has always been drawn to nature and the work of his hands.
But after days of enjoying the dirt, breathing the dirt, gazing at the pond and admiring the sunsets, the couple decided to share it. They had money from the business they sold in 2015 and, unlike many others, could afford the latest and most useful tools that made accessibility easier.
It was an opportunity to offer a haven of peace to all those who suffer.
“Everyone needs salt and dirt from time to time,” Eric said.
They decided to call it Boltz to Nutz Farm to play on the phrase “nut soup” because they wanted to do a bit of everything there.
The duo started with chickens. When they realized the chickens needed protection from predators, they adopted two Great Pyrenees dogs, Rio and Tinto. When they picked up the puppies, they saw sheep and brought home lambs.
They invited people to work on the farm who needed time to figure out their lives. These workers came from all over with diverse backgrounds and educations.
The seeds on the farm had sprouted.
Today, the two Great Pyrenees puppies are all fluffy, friendly, almost bear-sized dogs. They protect the chickens and give lots of love (and a little drool) to everyone who visits their farm. They have a particular taste for wheelchairs. As Eric and Yvonne move around the farm, the dogs rest their heads on Eric’s lap.
Puppies aren’t the only things that have grown and thrived.
In the agricultural zone, squash, corn and beans rise a little higher from the ground. The workers, it seems, have found peace.
The other day, marketing manager Marsh, 27, who suffered a cervical spinal cord injury, was able to use a cheese grater for the first time in 10 years.
Afterwards, her face lit up.
“These are the moments we live for,” Eric said.