Archive for the ‘Things to see at Maize Valley’ Category

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.

 

A quick recap of the 2013 “Growing Season”

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

“Fall 2013” is just about done for us! It has been a long time since I sat down behind the keyboard to make a blog post. I left you back on March 8th 2012, a lot happened since then. That year we had a bumper grape crop and bust of a corn maze. In 2013 we had just the opposite. If you watch the video I posted from the last post those grape buds made it just fine, then the fears I had in 2012 hit us in 2013 and we lost over 95% of our grape crop. The good news is the corn maze had the best crop ever which made for an awesome maze and a overall great “Fall”!

I took this picture of a full moon rising over they vineyard Friday May 28th as I left the corn maze field after working ground to get ready to plant it the next day.

Bad Moon Rising

Bad Moon Rising

That was not a welcome sight to me knowing what a sky can do like that when High pressure weather patterns arrive in late May. I figured we’d have a bad frost but no idea HOW bad. When my wife left the winery at 11:30pm that night there was already a light frost on the window of her vehicle.

Grape vines morning after a freeze

Grape vines morning after a freeze

The feeling a farmer gets when they look at a crop like in the one in the picture above is hard to describe. There are a lot easier ways to “make a living” but I wouldn’t trade what I do for anything. You just sorta learn things like this happen and you try and maintain a “long view” and find the positive. My father in law also lost 17 acres of sweet corn that night, but he took a gamble on trying to put some corn out in “low ground” that grows awesome crops and got burned.

Close up of "fried" grape vines

Close up of "fried" grape vines

The “Big Picture” you just keep telling yourself and keep on swimming as Dory would say (aka Finding Nemo). That same day I took the pictures of the fried grapes I loaded the corn planter and got busy planting the 2013 corn maze. We had already started getting fall campfire/corn maze reservations back in April and I needed to start getting ready.

Loading the Corn Planter

Loading the Corn Planter

I like to plant the corn a bit later than you normally would so that it stays green as long as possible into the fall season for purposes of the maze. This worked well this year and I will get back to that with future blog posts just on how we do the corn maze.

Looking over the hood while planting corn

Looking over the hood while planting corn

The corn maze growing season really had its ups and downs. I have done a lot of work to the corn maze field and it paid off this year. We fixed some drainage problems and have been on a steady annual program of applying cow manure to help with both fertility and organic matter.

But the sun came up each and every morning!

But the sun came up each and every morning!

But the sun came up each and every morning! One of the reasons I do what I do is this is my view from my “office”. People work all year to get to a “place like this”, I live it everyday. Besides all the “normal” stuff we do we also embarked on a other special projects designed to make our fall destination a one of kind place and over this winter I’ll try and review the year both in projects and all the special events we do.

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy your trip to our farm as I cover some of the things we do.

Breanne, the second but “better” Daughter…

Sunday, July 24th, 2011
A leader on the field

A leader on the field

My Dad can be sort of tough on us kids, he keeps sayin’ “Life doesn’t grade on a curve” whatever that means. I get good grades, Mom and Dad are proud but they say that is not enough.

Last night I got to wash dishes till about 9:00. We do a “Wine’d Up Wednesdays” weekly event which is mostly a ladies thing at my families winery and I pulled dish duty. Not really “farming” I guess but work that needed done.

But growing up on a farm with a winery, vineyard and agritourism destination has meant

Dad out in a different field

Dad out in a different field

When I was eight years old and barely big enough to see over the wheel my Dad put me in Grandpa’s BIG 4 door diesel dually pickup and told me to “drive”! He was picking up round bales and didn’t want to have to move both the truck and loader by himself. He says I’ll remember that like a “Alan Jackson song”. Whatever all that means? But I do recall that day.

Basil

Seeding Basil

Wordless Wednesday, Dammit!!

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
The Morton Building

The Morton Building

Ok, so the "warm-up" is good?

Snow

Tough Truck

Tough Truck, that was a lot of snow.

Takin’ what life throws at me part 1, Little Pink Houses for U n Me.

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
Little pink houses

Little pink houses

“I’ve got cancer”, those words were spoken to me on August 31st 2009 as I stood on the dock behind our farm market and winery. On the other end was my wife of 23 and on half years who I let go to the doctor alone because I had grapes to haul that day. And besides, we were pretty certain they were just “calcium deposits”, they were so small. Looking back I’m glad they were. One and half year’s later I now have a wife of over 25 years and a Breast Cancer Survivor.

Komen for the Cure

Komen for the Cure

We are so lucky. How did we react, how else could we like we do everything else. We ran straight at it. Our (My wife Michelle’s) journey was thankfully pretty short compared to so many. I can say that because I was not the one who had a lumpecotmy, which was not enough, but the lymphnodes were ok. So a “double” followed and now we are finishing up reconstruction things look good! No chemo, No radiation.

All the while, we thought we will get through and also how do we do that. The Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure Cleveland walk turned out to be a big part of that. About a month after my wife had her major reconstuction surgery she took her first steps toward really healing. 3 days, 60 miles sound hard? No not really when you see the journey some of the other 900 walkers in the Cleveland walk have endured. We are lucky.

Opening Ceremonies

Opening Ceremonies

What does Ohio Wine and More and Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery have to do with all this. Well I will try and explain over the next few blog posts about what the 3 Day Walk is about. It’s a little about marketing, its a little about wine, its a little about giving back what we can because everyone deserves a life!

Maize Valley’s Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, December 19th, 2009
Santa getting warmed up!

Santa getting warmed up!

We like we say “There is Always Something Happening at Maize Valley”! And this year the big guy was back again! He parked the reindeer on the barn roof and spent the morning with us. We ended up having TWO seatings with Santa this year due to poplular demand. It looks like we will have to see if he can stop by more than one weekend next year.

Everybody had a great time. Mary, Todd and crew kept the food coming out hot and plentiful from our kitchen and our elves kept everybody moving so that the lines were short and the fun was long. Thanks to all the great folks who picked us as their families “meet and greet” location with Santa.

And one of the really cool things is we do sell a whole lot of great holiday gifts during events like these, that is one of the reasons we do them. Yes we do sell a lot of wine too, after all how do you think all those little ones get here?

Merry Christmas from Maize Valley!

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Merry Christmas from Maize Valley

Merry Christmas from Maize Valley

Greetings once again from Farmer Bill the FunTSAR at Maize Valley! It has been a long time since I sat down and entered the blogosphere on a regular basis but I hope to be back now that I have more time to sit down and report on what we have been doing at Maize Valley. I have shot lots of videos about what has happened throughout the year and believe or not we are pretty busy right now getting ready for next years growing season.

This is the season of giving, but also thanking. We have put our farmers’ market produce trucks to work decorating them for the holiday season and welcoming guests as they enter our market and tasting room.

Breakfast with Santa is sold out with well over 225 guests set to sit on Santa’s lap and pass along their wishes, or at least get a photo with him. Gift baskets are rolling out strong, thanks to all the great folks who chose Maize Valley to be a part of their holiday giving. We are adding new dinner specials for weekend evenings starting now and going all winter and beyond. New events coming up for next year include a “winemakers dinner” new appetizer, entrees’ and more!