Archive for June, 2009

Field update; Do, Do, Do, lookin’ out my backdoor

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Sweet Corn beginning to tassle

Sweet Corn beginning to tassle

Pepper Patch June 26th 2009

Pepper Patch June 26th 2009

Cabbage Patch June 26th 2009

Cabbage Patch June 26th 2009

Things have really been busy as our field crops are now beginning to get set to go into reproductive stages of development. What does that mean you ask?

In the case of the watermelons they are starting to put out blossoms as they vine out and cover the ground around them, the Sweet Corn is starting to shoot tassles, and peppers are beginning to flower. In the video you can see some of the pollen shedding off the tassle as it floats toward the “ear silks”. We should have Farmers’ Market volume hopefully by the second or third week in July.

Well here are a few videos that can say with a picture more than my word can in a lifetime. I am going to be putting up a few more blog posts that talk more specifically about some of the “Rock Star” crops like our grapes, sweet corn and pumpkins. These guys really tend to steal the show mostly because they get to go and do Fun Stuff with people!

Muck Sweet Corn Ground

#Farm, #Buy local, #Social Media, #Rut Row, #Zoinks!

Thursday, June 18th, 2009
Me and my V Strom, one AWESOME machine!

Me and my V Strom, one AWESOME machine!

Goofing off last weekend

Goofing off last weekend

Ok, Ok, so here they run a “Social Media” article about a few of us and here I am with the latest blog posting a week old after doing about 5 a week for over a month, SORRY! I promise to do better! Like most producers life on the farm is very busy right now and it is tough to get all the work done, take care of family stuff, and now tell the world about it or keep up learning how others are doing as well.

So I have fallen a bit off as of late and even took part of a day off last Sunday to boot. But it was worth it 6 hours on my bike just melts away any worries or cares or “I need to do thats”. Scroll back a bit and wander through my last two months worth of work and tell what ya like or don’t like. I am no expert just a guy trying to figure out a new way to communicate.

I have to say thanks to all the folks out there that have helped me along the way. Susan Crowl at the Farm and Dairy, Donnie Winchell at the Ohio Wine Producers, Dan Toland at The Ohio Farm Bureau, Paul Ferris a Face book friend, and my way cool folks at The Karcher Group www.tkg.com who help me put it all together and look to the future.

We are talking about hosting a “Tweet Up” here this fall. I am not even sure what that is but, just like my bike I drive hard into the corners not knowing what is around the bend, drop a few gears, hard on the front brake easy on the back and NAIL IT as I come out of the bend. It has worked so far for most things!

Oh and P.S. to that guy on the Harley, Sorry about that when you twisted the throttle I thought your bike would accelerate?? Hope I did not peal too much paint off as I went by??!!

Vineyard update Three weeks after frost/freeze

Friday, June 12th, 2009
LaCrescent vines 23 days after frost

LaCrescent vines 23 days after frost

LaCrescent Vines 23 Days after hard frost/freeze

LaCrescent Vines 23 Days after hard frost/freeze

If you have been following along we have had a few entries reporting on the condition of our front vineyard that has the French American Hybrid variety LaCrescent vines. They really got hammered back on May 18th and 19th by an extremely hard frost that actually turned into a freeze before it was over.

I was really heartbreaking because this was this vineyards third year in production and things had really begun to look good and we had good blossom set and the vines looked pretty good considering the winter they had just endured. They just got fried, we lost about 90 percent of the exposed plant tissue, a few blossoms on the inside of the vine that were covered by a leaf or vine escaped but not many.

In the video you can see the secondary fruit set. While it is nice to see the vineyard finally getting a green “cast” to we expect only about half the crop we would have gotten with the original fruit set, but oh well such is life that is why you get rich farming.

Also look for postings on the new alcohol taxes coming down the line. If you voted for change here it comes!!! And hang on to your wallet! http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=90372764563&h=GDvWQ&u=P7S5J&ref=mf

Do you know how you make a million dollars farming?? Start with Two Million!!

Round Bales and Haunted Corn Mazes go together??

Thursday, June 11th, 2009
Baler kicking out Round Bale

Baler kicking out Round Bale

New Holland Tractor and Baler

New Holland Tractor and Baler

Round Bale just after being made

Round Bale just after being made

Getting ready for our fall Agri-Tourism and overwintering the animals starts now. My father-in-law Kay made over 48,000 small square bales last year and we do a few big round bales for the kritters in the winter and also for our fall harvest festival activities.

We have a small piece of land in the back of the property I have been stuggleing to make use of over the years. Last fall we planted winter rye to just sort of get something growing instead of weeds. Next will be sorghum, then we will carve a haunted maze into the crop.

All that starts now with getting the ground ready by killing the weeds and getting ready to plant the sorghum. So instead of just mowing the rye and grasses that grew up, I decided to bale them and get some use out of the light crop. Keep in touch as we show how we follow up with this piece of land to turn it from a weed patch into our haunted attraction.

We are bringing back our haunted maze by popular request. When we opened the winery there was just too much work to do and something had to give. Thousands of folks visit us in the fall from Mom and Dad families to corporate groups to church gatherings. So many of them asked us to BRING BACK YOUR HAUNTED MAZE we have found a way in 2009.

We do a truly scary and fun haunt, not a gross and gorey event. The Haunted maze is a seperate maze from the larger Trivia based adventure. People come out laughing and crying we never know which one starts first? I have sweated my butt off in so many hay lofts over they years I finally figured out a way to make baleing Fun!

At Maize Valley We Build Memories to last…….A Lifetime!! At Maize Valley We Make Great Wine…FUN!!

Here is how we get started. First I show Ben Sherman using his mower to mow our ditch banks, it is the same machine we used to mow the field be baled.

Traminette Vineyard, Training the vines and people

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Traminette Vines

Traminette Vines

Thad putting in the bamboo poles

Thad putting in the bamboo poles

Well sorry it has been a few days since I put some news up via this here ole’ Blog I know. It has just been hoppin’ here at Maize Valley. I am trying my best to get er’ done, but some days it just is not so easy. Mostly because pretty much all the content that I post we actually do first.

It is not just like I go out and taste some wine and tell somebody about what I think about it. We actually grow a lot of the vines along with a lot of other things then harvest them then make them into something cool, then market them so others can enjoy them. Along the way life happens and God willing and the creek don’t rise we make a living too. At the end of the day I’d rather have a good Dark Beer, Oatmeal Stout or something like that anyhow, now that’s what I can BODY!

I help coach my daughter’s softball team which we thought was just going to be terrible this year and who would have known it but we are 6 and 3 now and on a roll (won the last four games). Two blow outs and two dog fights, one with extra innings even! The girls are smiling and touching gloves and learning how to work through the tough spots in life. And isn’t that what coaching is all about I guess? I hope the girls someday look back and say “hey coach Bakan helped me get through a tough spot and I can do it again”, been there done that. The season has a long way to go but we have already done more than anybodies wildest dreams.

I suppose wine is sort of like that in some respects, no I don’t mean drink to make your troubles go away but rather wine brings people together and the net effect is more than just drinking or tasting the wine or deciding how “correct” or “unflawed” it is. But rather it sets the stage for people to interact in such a way that things get accomplished, relationships are built and things are learned that help you down the road if you get in a tough spot some day.

I feel so sorry for those that look at wine as a “thing” to only be evaluated and studied for its comparative value related to others like it. No, it can not be garbage either but there is so little to be gained by tearing some down just to elevate another. Life is just too short. Judge it to help you dial in your preference but don’t dig on someone else’s.

Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch 8 Days after planting @ Maize Valley

Saturday, June 6th, 2009
Let's dig a little deeper

Let's dig a little deeper

Pumpkin sprout 8 Days after planting

Pumpkin sprout 8 Days after planting

Agri-Tourism is a big part of what we do at Maize Valley. The new word on the street, er maybe for us the path, is “Imersion Tourism”. We just know it feels right to help people work toward “Hakuna Matata” or no worries and a relaxing fun day in the country can be just the ticket for that.

But we ARE farmers, really we do grow a ton of stuff yet from Watermelons to Wine we do a lot. But we have to sell it too, otherwise we will not be around to do it again as my wife’s family has done for the last 150 odd years here. So a great deal of my blog deals with what a modern direct market producers deals with and what it takes to both grow the food you need to eat to live, but also provide a quality of life aspect that makes life worth living.

Here are some video updates of where our corn maze and U-pick pumpkin patch is 8 days after planting, hope you enjoy.

Ain’t that America, for You and Me…

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
"Three little pigs"
Pizza guard cat

Pizza guard cat

Calendar from "Way Back in the Day"
Schineders Mill

Schineders Mill

John Cougar (Melencamp) said it well didn’t he? I am told a good blog lets the readership/followers know a little about the person writing it as well about cold hard facts or links or data. I guess I am sort of a unique person always a step off pace witht the rest of the world sometimes ahead sometimes behind.

I am going to post a little something I will call “Ain’t that America” now and then. Of all places I have noticed the City of Detroit is trying to draw people to it with it’s version of basically reality. They say something like “in this pasturized and homoganized world don’t you need someplace real”? Or something along those lines.

In my line of “work” (I love what I do so does that mean I am unemployed?), I have the opportunity to interact and do business with places in America that are vanishing, places that once were the norm. Many places have vanished because they gave lousy service or failed to adapt to a changing american too.

But these places that have texture, places that have true personality derived from within not copied from someplace else, places that do not apologize for who or what they are but fill a niche or a need before the word niche became cool to say or use a marketing buzzword. It probably all started with “Mad Men”?

These places don’t care about blogs, facebook, twitter, e-mail, instant messaging, American Idol, Blackberry’s, You tube, i-tunes, bono, Paris Hilton…..you get the picture. They care about a handshake, eye contact, time for a story, bartering, quality work, remembering your name & knowing what you got last time, your family, how the last rain hit you and did you get any hail? They fix things that are broken, they get you what you need, they can get you out of a jam.

Good wines and Good Times have the same things going for them, they just come out in flavors, aroma’s, colors and “Legs”. They put an unexpected smile on your face and warm your insides beyond the physical way alcohol can do. They create a desire in you to seek them out and go back there again and experience that feeling again, even though you can’t quite put a finger on what it is.

I Hope you enjoy the view from this character and I hope I can pass this piece of America along to my kids by the examples of life I have witnessed by having the fortune to cross paths with folks that make up the fabric we call America.

Vineyard update Traminette coming along fine

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Thad pruning our Traminette vines

Thad pruning our Traminette vines

We had some winter kill and lost a couple more when we had the heavy frost/freeze but all in all our newest vineyard up at Evan Morris’s place is looking pretty good. In the video below Thad returns now that school is out for summer and is pinching off some of the unwanted growth on the vines.

Basically we are working towards getting two shoots to climb up onto the wire. We bring two up such that we have a bit of an insurance policy in case we lose one of the vines you still get fruit from that plant site. We will be checking back with this particular vineyard from time to time to show the progress it makes this season.

‘Traminette’ resulted from the cross, Joannes Seyve 23.416 x ‘Gew├╝rztraminer’.. This cross was made in 1965 by H.C. Barrett, then of the University of Illinois, with the intention of producing a large clustered table grape with the flavor of ‘Gew├╝rztraminer’. Seed from the cross were sent to Cornell’s grape breeding program where they were planted in 1968. Fruit were first observed in 1971 and the original vine was propagated in 1974 under the number NY65.533.13. The vine was initially described as a vigorous and productive green grape with moderately loose clusters.

Ohio Wines…On The GO!!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

JUNE is Ohio Wine Month……………………….DUDE!!!

This summer the Ohio Grape Industries Committee, is excited to announce that the Ohio Grape Industries’ Ohio Wine Guide will be expanded to include web-based downloadable GPS tours.

Ohio Wines… on the go! gives visitors access to six regional tours of Ohio wineries. Visitors can download turn-by-turn directions to their : Garmin, TomTom, Smartphone, PDA, iPod or any MP3 player. Also included is a brief description of each winery, along with contact information and hours of operation.

Check out the links on the bottom right side of the blog homepage for more information about other great Ohio Wine resources.

Click on the the one called Ohio Wine on the go East first because that is where we are and we are cool.

I just had to say that.

Celtic Beltane Festival @ Maize Valley…Making Great Wine…FUN!!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
Cabor Toss

Cabor Toss

Bill Kennedy attending to his family obligations

Bill Kennedy attending to his family obligations

Frances Acar with the Scottish American Society

Frances Acar with the Scottish American Society

It has been said you don’t know where you are going if you don’ know where you have been. This past weekend at Maize Valley the Scottish American Society invited the world to see where their members ancestors came from and all the really cool stuff that made them very unique.

This group of hard working Scotts has been developing this festival for 5 years now and it has begun to really come into its own and get a great feel and flow to it. Every year they add new vendors, displays, entertainment and events for a full day ladies in layers and men in kilts of Tarten and Plaid.

They have developed a real nice “village” atmosphere as you step out of our market and tasting room and move onto the gateway pavilion to find music and dancers, flow down into the grass and check out the clan tents and vendors then make you way up the hill past the Highland Cattle and watch the Heavy Highland Athletic competition.

Oh, Did I mention we sell Wine and More that day too??? Oh well check out some of the videos below to see just how the day unfolded and be sure and visit Maize Valley next year to come and “get your Scott on” and have a meat pie!