DEKALB JUNCTION — As you round the corner on DeKalb Junction Road, Tanner Creek Farm emerges. Its big, red barn and white silo paint a striking picture against the lush green background. The scene evokes a simpler time.
The house and barn at Tanner Creek Farm were built in the 1880s and for many years the property operated as a dairy farm.
In 1991, Thomas M. and Pamela Jasikoff bought the farm as a place to raise their children.
Now, Mr. Jasikoff has converted the land into a nature sanctuary and the barn into a venue for weddings, proms and barn dances.
Mr. Jasikoff, in the ’90s, was a wildlife biologist working for the federal government helping farmers in the north country restore wetlands.
“We put in hundreds of ponds all over the north country,” he said.
The Jasikoffs had five children they raised in the old farmhouse. They ran a hobby farm while Mr. Jasikoff worked on the buildings and the land.
“We were sparking up the facets of this place,” he said.
Eventually, Mr. Jasikoff was asked to run the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in the Finger Lakes area.
They kept the farm and rented it out, he said.
Mr. Jasikoff is retired now, after a 42-year career, and has confined his work to his own land.
The land is dotted with ponds and boasts native grasses, orchards and grape vines, all accessible along 3 miles of mowed paths.
The fields that used to grow hay and corn have been converted to warm season grasslands, he said. Mixed with the warm season grasses are prairie wild flowers.
“I must have 100 different species of prairie wildflowers,” he said. “Come July, August and September, this place is just ablaze.”
Intermingled with the native plants and the wildflowers and the orchards, are edible hedgerows and all kinds of berry patches.
“It’s a preserve for both nature and people,” he said. “It’s a refuge.”
They had been working on the barn when his daughter wanted to get married.
“We had jacked up the barn, put the new floor in, power washed the whole inside,” he said.
That wedding revealed something to Mr. Jasikoff.
“I realized that what I wanted to do when I retired was to share this place with others,” he said. “Help people celebrate happy times.”
“Three years ago we started to have a couple of weddings,” he said. “Then COVID got in the way.”
Last year there were 11 weddings at Tanner Creek Farm. This year there a 22 weddings booked and two proms, Canton and Hermon-DeKalb.
To share the venue with more people, Mr. Jasikoff is planning public barn dances.
“We have a big open house on July 30,” Mr. Jasikoff said. “It is going to be a free public barn dance with country music. We have vendors, we have food trucks, we have a brewery coming and the trails will be open and we will be giving sunset tour rides with the wagon and we will be interpreting all the prairie. The barn has space to accommodate 220 people. There is a bar and a prep kitchen for caterers.”
A new deck has been built off the barn that overlooks the creek and the nature preserve.
There is also a professional sound system and plenty of power outlets.
The lower level of the barn has also been renovated with two new restrooms that are handicap accessible and a large bridal suite and lounge.
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