Archive for the ‘Buy Local’ Category

Breakfast with Santa part 3, Ohio Wine gifts helping Mom out when she needs it the most!

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

This blog post is the last of three outlining how we do Breakfast with the “Big Guy”! We talked about how we took care of the kids and what we did for the family. But what about Mom (or Dad) looking to by that special local gift? We feature Ohio Wines made right on the farm.

Got gifts?

Got gifts?

And we don’t just have “wine only” gifts either we also carry a variety of other holiday related items to help fill in some gaps people may have. But have you ever had a Chocolate Covered wine bottle given to you as a gift? Hey, you got your chocolate in my wine, No your got your wine in my chocolate…….Do you see where I’m headed? Besides that we have other unique gifts including our Home made Fudge, cookies, pies, pie breads that warm the heart and soul.

Chocolate Bottles

Chocolate Bottles

So as I look back at all we do I am reminded our slogan “We have a Vintage for all the seasons of you life” is really true. We are not trying to be crafty or have some huge marketing plot behind what we do. We just try and make every lick count, and keep the ball rolling best we can from day to day, season to season, year to year, generation to generation. And now about the “General” behind this event. There really are two, of course “Santa” I give him props he really keeps us on our toes all year round, but also my wife Michelle.

The leader of the pack this day

The leader of the pack this day

But not just the leader of the pack this day, barely two weeks after a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. This picture was taken December 2009, we are now getting ready for the 2013 event and I’m thankful everyday to have her.

Michelle my wife and "survivor"

My wife Michelle and her Mom Donna (Center and right) both breast cancer survivors.

So yes we are about building memories to last a lifetime. We are about creating a place that is authentic and hopefully a meaningful place in people’s lives both in location and time. We are about a family farm who is discovering ways to take the resources we have and repurpose them in unique ways that make a difference in people’s lives. We don’t expect people to give us their business, but we hope we can earn it. No we plan on earning it.

Holiday cheer by the truckload

Holiday cheer by the truckload

If you would like to learn more about our special events please visit

For information about 2013 Breakfast with Santa only.

Looking for a Real Nice Christmas Tree? Check out our Neighbors to the East!

Friday, November 29th, 2013

People often ask us when they are out at our place, “Are those your trees?” as they point to the Eastern edge of our farm. No we say but the folks that own them are awesome. It is Moore’s Christmas Tree and Dayliliy Farm and we always suggest that people make the journey back out to the Marlboro/Hartville area to find that perfect tree.

Just the start of your selection!

Just the start of your selection!

The Moore family is a great bunch of folks. They really have a great sense of humor. In fact a few years back Dave Moore was out tagging trees in the fall. I launched a pumpkin and really got a hold of it. The tree field is over a half mile away. My cell phone rang and it was Dave, he said the last one landed about 35 feet from him and in a real relaxed and calm voice asked if I could “back it down a bit”, I obliged him. The next year they put up the following…….

Moore's Target

Moore's Target

We try and work together best we can throughout the year. For some of our Cross Country and extreme races we run on the farm we often use part of Moore’s farm as they have a good hill to challenge the runners on. But the day after Thanksgiving they have the perfect setting to come and harvest the perfect tree. You can wander their farm and have a variety of ways to get your favorite tree. Once you pic the tree you like you tear off the bottom part of the tag they have put on the tree. It has the trees price and a matching number so you get the right tree once it is cut.

Two piece tag

Each tree has a tag on it with its price.

Once you have found the tree you like you can cut it yourself or tear the tag off, go to the shed and pay for it and have Moore’s cut it. After it is cut you bring the tree to the shaker if you like.

They can Shake your tree to clean it up.

They will Shake out all the birds nests and dead needles

After the Shaker you can have it “net wrapped” or sort of bagged so it is easy to transport and get in the door at home.

Wrapping the tree

Wrapping the tree

After they wrap it they can also drill a hole in the center bottom of the tree if you have a tree stand that has a spear up the center. This is a huge help if you have ever tried to drill that yourself.

The parking lot is nearby so it is easy to get to your vehicle.

The parking lot is nearby so it is easy to get to your vehicle.

They do much like we do, they have created a great place for families to gather and experience a day on the farm, instead of pumpkins it is a Christmas tree.

Finding time for family fun

Finding time for family fun

So look for this sign just about one half mile East of our place on the same side of the road.

Moore's sign on the North side of 6 St. Rt. 619

Moore's sign on the North side of 6 St. Rt. 619

Oh and don’t forget to stop by and see us after you have walked around out in the cold! We always have some HOT Soup on the stove and a whole bunch of other menu items to warm you up! Keep in mind we are closed on Sundays.

Many great menu items to choose from

Many great menu items to choose from

Let it SNOW! Some views from around the Farm

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

My wife Michelle and I live in the house her Grandfather was born in. He passed away almost 20 years ago in his late 80’s. His parents were not the first generation to live in this house. In fact my wife’s family were the third family to settle in Marlboro twp. Ohio in the 1800’s. They have been farmers, school teachers, leather tanners and most recently we make wine.

Our House covered in snow.

Our House covered in snow.

I needed to go out and plow snow off the parking lot at the market and winery so folks could come and get their Thanksgiving shopping needs done. Our new Winter wine is a big hit and our Cranberry a holiday favorite.

Market in snow

Market in snow

Farms have lots of all kinds of cool stuff for snow to blanket.

Massy Combine in snow

Massy Combine in snow

That machine above is a 1952 Massy Harris Combine. It just came to us this year. A neighbor used it up untill it’s engine gave out on the way to the field to harvest Oats this past summer. Now it is just a “prop” for our guests who visit the farm to look at and enjoy. I may try and fix the engine yet this winter if I can find parts.

Snow covered vines

Snow covered vines

Our vineyard is sleeping now. Our crop was lost this past year (2013) due to a late freeze on May 28th, and 29th. Days like that your remember. They year before (2012) we had a record crop. Life averages out.

Moore's Tree Farm

Moore's Tree Farm

Our neighbors to our East own and operate a Christmas Tree Farm. It is called Moore’s Christmas Tree and Day Lilly farm. As the name implies they do Christmas trees and in the spring and summer Lillies. They are really nice folks, they don’t mind a bit when I land pumpkins on there farm during the fall pumpkin cannon season. It is about a half a mile as the crow (or pumpkin) flys.

Come on out get a tree and stop in the Winery for some great menu options ranging from soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. Please note we are closed on Sundays, Moore’s are open. More about breakfast with Santa soon.

Breakfast with Santa at the Winery part 2

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Over the years this event has evolved into more than just “Breakfast”. It sells out because we limit the seatings and the number of guests so that while you are there you have enjoyable holiday experience. It isn’t just about seeing that you little loved ones get parked on Santa’s lap for a photo opp. It is about taking time to connect a bit during what can be a stressful time of year.

Lou a local attorney a frequent customer with his wife with his grand kids

Lou a local attorney a frequent customer with his wife with his grand kids

We try and keep it relaxed with lots of things to do so people are not rushed and have time to spend with each other while they wait on the main event. This also helps with the line waiting for Santa. We limit the seating to a amount that allows for everyone to casually move from one thing to another so they can get everything done without stressing out.

Now that is FOCUS!

Now that is FOCUS! Future pastry chef?

Then of course……The MAIN event……LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!! We have a great guy who, well…..we have Santa!

One on One, getting it right, checking those eyes...twice

One on One, getting it right, checking those eyes...twice

Or bring the whole gang!

Memories held fast in time.

Memories held fast in time.

We do a total of three “seatings” now for this event capping each one at about 130-150 people depending upon a variety of reasons. But okay what about business or what about meeting peoples needs and also giving a bit of “Hakuna Matata” and solving some gift giving needs people have too? We’ll touch on that next post, I’ve already gone on too long here!

If you would like to learn more about our special events please visit

For information about 2013 Breakfast with Santa only.

Breakfast with Santa at the Winery part 1

Monday, November 25th, 2013
Breakfast with Santa

Breakfast with Santa

Breakfast with Santa, every year we do an “Over the top” breakfast with Santa and gradually have gotten to be know as “Thee place to be” for this type of event. People start calling us to make pre-paid reservations in October! This event

Ho, Ho, HO!  Let it snow!

Ho, Ho, HO! Let it snow!

First of all we take pre-paid reservations only for this event. Call us up, we get your information and reserve you a place to enjoy the event. We like to make sure everyone has the time and room they need for whatever size their group is. The breakfast is done buffet style where we serve our guests as they move through the line. Nobody leaves hungry and we keep it neat and full.

Chow line!

Chow line!

The chairs that the night before had guests sitting around the winery enjoying wine and food while listening to live entertainment are now filled with families bridging the generational gaps and finding way to enjoy each others company while of course waiting to meet the “Big Guy”!

One of our Reserved seating areas

One of our Reserved seating areas

Next post we’ll take more detailed look at what else goes on with Santa.

If you would like to learn more about our special events please visit

For information about 2013 Breakfast with Santa only.

Getting “Lucky”

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Life is full of “Cliche’s”. Most of them do make sense and are meaningful if not overused and used appropriately. The older I get……. I bet you thought I was going to say “The wiser I get” right? Well yes, but I prefer to look at it more like “Gee I was sure stupid when I was young”, how did I ever survive? As I travel along inside this box of chocolates on this journey my “work” affords me the opportunity to interact and engage with lots of different folks for many walks of life and viewpoints on it all.

This past weekend I met Bennie. Bennie has M.S. Bennie has his “work cut out for him” as does his family. I can’t say much about Bennie, I really don’t know much about him, his struggles or what it is like to be in his shoes. But I got lucky in the sense I was able to help Bennie and not hardly lift a finger.

Jade Addressing the Volunteers and Participants

Jade Addressing the Volunteers and Participants

You see this past fall we hosted a event that really stretched us at the farm. On October 12th we hosted the Federal League Cross Country Meet. Lake High School is located just West of us about 4 miles in the Village of Hartville, Ohio. It is a small community but where the school sits there is no room for a good Cross Country Course. We are located in a different School District (Marlington) but have relationships all over the running community due to some of the events we have done in the past. The reason it stretched us was immediately following the race we had another event scheduled that afternoon and evening that brought us our biggest single day attendance ever. On the day we had over 6,000 people visit the farm in total.

Federal League Meet Oct. 12th 2013

Federal League Meet Oct. 12th 2013

We have done 5K’s as well as “Extreme races” (Mud Runs), ours was called the “Farmathalone”. We have prepared a course on the farm and pretty much maintain the paths year round to both farm on and do a variety of special events. As part of our “Brand” we like to promote our authenticity as a real farm but also have it so it can be a dual use facility for marketing what we grow and produce.

On the the 12th a young lady by the name of Jade Smith was on the Lake High School team and ran along with her teammates. Most of the schools had practiced in the weeks leading up to event and Jade had been out several times. It was pretty cool, while the coaches Jeff and Chris busted their butts to make the course race ready for the event you could see the students as well bending over and pitching stones aside and leveling ruts.

Jade is in the National Honor Society and members need to do a project as part of the requirements. She choose to do a fund raiser for a boy in their church named Bennie. Jade along with her coach Chris Wise asked me if I thought they could use our course as the location for a 5K. I brought it before our family and we said yes. So they organized it and took on the challenge.

It was not a big fancy “Chip Timed” event. It was about a young lady helping a young man because he needed it. Chris came out and dug into some of our supplies, brought his own and laid out the course. Jade her Mom and crew did all the other stuff you need to do make a race happen. I just opened the gate and tried to make sure we didn’t leave anything dangerous lying around after our fall clean up.

Bookin it for Bennie

Bookin it for Bennie

We were “Prepared” for an “Opportunity” to come along, and I guess you call that being “Lucky”. It was so rewarding to be able to help young adult who came to us with their arms stretched out asking for a “Hand Up”, rather than just a “Hand Out”. I’ll help those kids all day long and twice on Sunday.

 

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Final Ride

Final Ride

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
Maize Valley Vintner's dinner

Maize Valley Vintner's dinner

Fall Harvest is here, We offer a “Vintage for all the seasons of your life”

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Can U guess my weight?

Can U guess my weight?

Well we have survived another wonderful summer here in Ohio and now it is time to harvest the fruits of our labor.

Opening weekend wagon rides

Opening weekend wagon rides

This past weekend was “Opening weekend” at Maize Valley. We sort of have a “soft opening” to say we don’t promote it too much. We like to get our new staff in and run them through the paces a bit so they can learn the ropes.

Many of them are returning veterans from years past, and many it is their first job ever!

New things for the NASHOG pig races

New things for the NASHOG pig races

This year I am handing the NASHOG Pig races over to a new staff member we call Kaw-Girl-Kelly. She is doing fine! But some days I’m not sure who is training whom, the pigs or her??!!

Great neighbors "Down Range"

Great neighbors "Down Range"

We are blessed with great neighbors “down range” from our pumpkin cannon. Yea they R a half mile away but I have reached out and touched a few of their Christmas trees over the years. This year they are daring me to “Target them”. C our pumpkin patch is right next to their trees this year and they should get lots of folks checking them out for their next ride to gather experiences with their families.

This Day found us still baling hay

This Day found us still baling hay

We are a working farm and we were working right up to the day we opened baleing hay and picking grapes all in the same day while giving wagon rides and shooting pumpkins!

Brett Says the Bale Crawl is READY!

Brett Says the Bale Crawl is READY!

And Don’t forget our big dog the Pumpkin Cannon and it Carnage!

What happens to a pumpkin after it flys about 1/3 of a mile

What happens to a pumpkin after it flys about 1/3 of a mile

As I looked around it all seemed so small this weekend but I know what is coming next. Thousands and Thousands of people who come to us to build memories to last a lifetime.

A Vintage for all the season of you life at Maize Valley

A Vintage for all the season of you life at Maize Valley

Wagon Rides, Pumpkins and so much more! :-)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

This post is written by Bill Bakan, “Farmer Bill” the Fun TSAR at Maize Valley

Green Pumpkins!!

Green Pumpkins!!

Welcome to our pumpkin patch!! At Maize Valley we make a pretty decent claim at being Ohio’s most complete fall harvest destination. No we don’t have everything that everyone may have at other pumpkin patches or corn mazes but we have a pretty “complete mix”.

We are a diversified family farm that offers a monthly 5 course china plated, guided paired wine tasting dinner series called “Vintner Dinners” as well as wagon rides to the pumpkin patch for school groups and the general public.

Bridging the gap bewteen what could be seen as two completly seperate worlds is a whole host of other menu and activity options designed to take our guests through all the seasons and “Vintages” if you will, of their life.

"White" pumpkins early growth

"White" pumpkins early growth

Coming up is the fall harvest season, the end of a long year of work and joy. About 12 years ago I stepped into a corn field and killed the corn and thereby carving a design into the field in the shape of the Goodyear Blimp creating our first corn maze. There was no looking back but we did not stop there either.

Coming up this late summer and fall we have balloons lifting off, clam bakes, Pig races, coorporate group outings, car crushing metal dinasaours, a life flight helicopter landing, Motorcycle rally’s, car cruises, garlic festival and wine pours. The list is pretty extensive, It is just how we roll.

Farming about 700 acres and approx. 40-50 different crops helps to keep us “real” but at the same time keeps us flexible and diversified enough to not only survive but continue to grow over the past few years.

It hasn’t been easy, but nothing worth having ever is! 🙂