Archive for the ‘Buy Local’ Category

New Greenhouse! Sweet

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Open roof design

Open roof design

Extending the season

Extending the season with more cover

What coming up down on the farm? Just one more step for us at Maize Valley as we try and shift our crop production to what we see as new opportunities.

Just a few years ago we were farming over 3000 acres, milking about 150 head of Holestiens, and running a diverse ag supply business. What started as throwing some sweet corn seed in the 12 row corn planter on the last round of the spring planting season grew into a direct marketing enterprise and the rest is well…history.

This new greenhouse will join three others in helping us in our efforts to extend our growing season here in Northeast Ohio and produce a greater variety of crops.

We direct market these crops at area farmers’ markets but also serve them in our entrees’ in our winery cafe’ and also through our monthly “Vintner Dinner” series.

At Maize Valley we make great wine…FUN!

Bringing a farm to a plate near you!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Raised Beds plastic after hole is punched and plant inserted

Raised Beds plastic after hole is punched and plant inserted

One row of about 50 acres

One row of about 50 acres

My father in law Kay running the John Deere 6400

My father in law Kay running the John Deere 6400

Part of growing all the quality produce we do on the farm at Maize Valley is preparing a good solid foundation for our crops to grow in. Part of that involves what are called raised irrigated beds. We grow about 200 acres of “fresh market produce”. Of that about 50-60 acres is grown using this method. We still farm about a total of 700 acres including hay, soybeans, pumpkins, sweet corn and more.

That is what sets Maize Valley apart I guess as far as a retailer in this day and age. I guess we take pride in being the real deal in all aspects we can. The man on the tractor in the video is Kay my father in law. His family has farmed here since the 1800’s and today we are still trying to raise products and market them to stay current and of value to today’s consumers.

We don’t just haul something in repackage it and put it out we try and craft something from raw materials and add value as we do. In the process we employee people, like Galen who is in the video who has worked with us for over 20 years. We break stuff, buy parts, pay taxes, build things and just try and make it through to the next generation.

We appreciate you stopping by and visiting with us here. But we hope we gave you enough reason to stop by the farm market and winery and even spend some more time with us.

Take care!

Vineyard views springtime! Cabbage and Garlic too?? Whattt?

Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Cabbage lookin' pretty good!

Cabbage lookin' pretty good!

Garlic coming up in rows!

Garlic coming up in rows!

Springtime vines

Springtime vines

It has been a pretty warm and dry spring so far. You never know if that is a good thing or not. It is great to get out and get some work done early but also if it get too warm too early bad things can happen too. Such as an early bud break in the vineyard that leads to all sorts of problems. Last year we got frozen in late May and that pretty much killed the grape harvest for the year.

We have lots on tap this year in the way of locally produced vegtables, fruit, wine and good times at Maize Valley so keep in touch, and come and see why Maize Valley IS the place to BE!

Maize Valley reloading for 2010 from Tastings to Tomatoes we got it going on!

Monday, March 29th, 2010
Early Tomatoes

Getting a early start in the Greenhouse!

Overhead view of Mater!

Overhead view of Mater!

Everyday and Wine Trail Tastings too!

Everyday wine tastings and Wine Trail events too!

Weddings at our "Ballroom"

From weddings at the “Ballroom” to raising greenhouse crops, and winter farmers’ markets and a record setting year in the winery tasting room and cafe’ It has been a busy winter! My father in law Kay is gearing up for a HUGE season at the farmers’ market where it looks like at least nine markets a week for us. Wine tastings from Geneva to Dayton to Sandusky and more will keep us occupied too. Plus all the great special events from years past plus a few more are on the horizon as well. You need to stop out and see why we say “Maize Valley IS the placet To BE!

I have been busy working our face book and twitter pages too so this blog sort of got the “hind tit” approach as they say in the world of raisin’ Hogs! But all in all it has been a good winter too. Not too terrible cold with lots of snow cover really helped the grapes and they are looking fine. Now we just have to get through the rest of the spring and past any late frosts in May and we will be sitting pretty.

The video below is just one small snapshot of what is coming this summer at Maize Valley. Thanks for stopping by!

Vintner’s Dinners at Maize Valley, New wines, New food, New friends

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
1st Vintner's Dinner Jan

Welcome Guests

Your seat awaits!

Your seat awaits you!

Never sit with strangers, but leave as friends

Never sit with strangers, but leave as friends

Wines paired with the dinner are boxed and ready to go!

Wines paired with the dinner are boxed and ready to go!

January 21 saw the first of our Vintner’s dinners at Maize Valley for 2010. They are reservation only dinners limited to 40 persons held on the third Thursday of every month. The menu and recipie for each dinner can be found by visiting our website. Reservations can be made by calling or e-mailing us in either case be sure to get a confirmation.

New wines, new food, new friends is how we like to put it for this event series. Our focus is on introducing guests to new wines and pair them with foods we feel are complementary. We hope our guests also meet new friends and enjoy learning more about food and wine along the way.

We try to feature items on the menu we either grow or source as local as possible while still maintaining high standard of quality. During the evening we explain a little about the pairings as well as some of the history surrounding our winery and family farm. Sometimes we just talk about the food other times we might even tell a story about how the Vaughan family has made a living with the land here in Marlboro township since the 1800’s. They have been school teachers, leather tanners, and farmers, you never know what might come to mind.

So please stop on by sometime, sit a spell, but no don’t take your shoes off, this is just a bit higher end than that!

New crops and ideas growing at Maize Valley

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
A little clove all tucked in for a long winters nap

A little clove all tucked in for a long winters nap

Planting garlic

Planting garlic

I have to say one thing about my father-in-law Kay, when get tries something he tries it big. Almost a quarter acre of garlic, REALLY! Well at least we will have a “Vampire free zone”or is that Werwolf Free ?! I remember when we row covered almost 8 acres of melons years ago for our first go around with melons, whoops! Worked good till the wind blew it off and we had kites the size of football fields.

Anyhow the point is we are not afraid to try new things at Maize Valley. I got Kay started more on these crops a few years ago when I asked him “do you want to try some farmers'” markets and he said yes. Well we needed to learn to grow a whole new mix of crops to adapt and succeed at direct markets.

New crops, smaller plantings, wider varities all came into play as we moved forward in this are and the garlic is just one example. Stop in our farm market and winery next year, we are going to have PLENTY of garlic!

I wonder how a garlic wine would taste?????

Winter #farmers’market,#ag,#farm, Selling strong at the Cuyahoga Valley!

Monday, January 18th, 2010
Walk in to the farmers' market

Walk in to the farmers' market

Under the road and to trail center to the farmers' market we go....

Under the road and to trail center to the farmers' market we go....

Approach to the Happy Days Trail Center

Approach to the Happy Days Trail Center

Tim and Brett selling the goods!

Tim and Brett selling the goods!

Lots of vendors to choose from

Lots of vendors to choose from

If you look at the last Maize Valley Ohio Wine and More blog post you could see the process that we use to grow some crops in the winter time in Ohio. Now don’t get me wrong I have no illusion we are making any money yet at this venture. This is still in the research and development phase, but you have to start somewhere!

We are learning experimenting trying new things that is what entrepreneurs do, it is in our blood! We have learned a great deal already and it is allowing us to make some future investment decisions based upon data collected. This is all we do, no off farm jobs, no retirement income, no gov’t support we run very tight and hard.

We are just practical producers trying to make a living with the land in a responsible manner that sustains our families and provides for future generations. My wifes family has been here since the late 1800’s and I don’t want to mess that up! So with my father-in-laws support we started trying farmers’ markets again a few years ago and this is the latest chapter in that journey.

If you take the time to look through past blog posts here in this Ohio Wine and More blog you will see it is quite a journey!

Thanks to Beth Knorr and Darwin Kelsey who are the main contacts we have the CVCC for their efforts in starting and helping to develop the farmers’ market.

Here are some pictures and videos showing last Saturdays market organized by the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservacy. It is held in the park at the Happy Days Trail center. There are links to learn more via the pictures above just hover and click.

Winter Farmers’ Market crop progress update, #farm,#ag,#Buy, #local,

Friday, January 15th, 2010
Todd and Samantha cutting spinich

Todd and Samantha cutting spinich

Tim Bagging up Fresh Cut Spinich

Tim Bagging up Fresh Cut Spinich

The Ohio Wine and More Blog is as the title says, more! Part of our winery is also a strong agricultural heritage. But that heritage is an evolving one. Maize Valley was once a “Conventional Commercial Dairy and Cash Grain” family farm enterprise. Maize Valley is now a diversified direct to consumer and wholesaler producer of of a wide variety of fresh market vegtables, as well as a new up and coming line of peppers, salsas, sauses and of course award winning wines.

In 2009 we attended 7 weekly farmers’ markets in the growing and harvest season. This winter we have expanded to attending one winter market to test the waters and see how that works. I do not mean to imply that we are experts at any of this. We are just one family farm trying new things to adapt to a changing marketplace

This years attempt at raising spinich and lettuce in the greenhouse is far from perfect. A “greenhouse” is not the idea enviornment for this type of production but before we invested a lot we wanted to give it a try with resources and infrastructure we already had. To do this sort of production a “High Tunnel” type of cover would be better suited. This might be in the future for us if we see a market emerge to sell product in what was traditionally a off season.

Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again with more posts from The Ohio Wine and More blog. Come and see why Maize Valley IS the Place to BE!

Going Green when it’s snowy white out! New Vintners Dinners at Maize Valley. #farm,#ohiowine, #agritourism, #buylocal

Monday, December 28th, 2009
Spinich at Maize Valley in December

Spinich at Maize Valley in December

Todd looking at progress of winter greenhouse crops

Todd looking at progress of winter greenhouse crops

There is ALWAYS something Happening at Maize Valley! I understand the economy presents some unique challenges now, but I refuse to think that you can do nothing about it. It just forces you to try new things, think harder, work smarter, get better, get out of your comfort zone, move ahead.

That is what made our country great not “gov’t stimulus” or “Nebraska style” change, it is entrepreneurs getting out taking risks with the hope of reward. That lasts long after the handout is gone! Sorry about the “soapbox” there!

Winter time is always a tough time for business especially wineries but new this year at Maize Valley will be our Thursday evening “Vintners Dinners”. A chance for people to come out and learn a little bit more about wine, understand better how it complements different foods, and enjoy the company of others as you travel on this path together.

One unique thing about our Vintners dinners is that even in the winter months some of the entree’ will be grown by us! Right now just for starters it is going to be the salad and wine produced by us will be paired with it. Different dinners will have different themes and pairings.

The dinners will be the third Thursday of the month with limited reserved seating. Move your curser over the pics above and “click”, it will magically take you to a Maize Valley web page with details such as price, dates, menu etc.

Thanks for stopping by….

#Farmers’ Markets, #Greenhouses, New frontiers old needs

Monday, December 14th, 2009
Greenhouse sporting a new plastic cover

Greenhouse sporting a new plastic cover

Well here we go again, we are trying something NEW at Maize Valley once again, what is old is now new again. As we constantly search for new ways to make our business relevant and of value to our guests and customers I try and look at life from more than “both sides now”. That is just not enough, you need to look at it “Three Dimensionally” if you will. Pick it up, turn it over and see how it smells that will tell you a lot!

The greenhouses are getting new plastic because after about three years they don’t let in the full light spectrum for optimal plant growth. So we have to get up there and put new plastic on to optimize the sunlight coming in and give the plants their best shot at a productive life. This particular house will be used for early tomato production. My father in law has another house at the home farm growing spinach and lettuce for the winter farmers’ markets and dinners in the winery. Starting next week you will be able to order our weekend dinner special in our winery with carrots fresh dug from the farm and a salad with our own fresh grown greens, IN OHIO in December!

What is new is how we are working at selling the products. Winter farmers’ markets, dinners in the winery crops grown in the cold months being marketed outside of traditional seasons. Stay tuned for more updates of things coming up down on the farm.

My wife Michelle shot the videos because I actually had to do some work this time! That’s me in the grey vest and black hat, Todd and Galen are up helping too.