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

Pumpkin Marketing a 500 level course, Competitive Advantage, #Agritourism, #buylocal, eatlocal

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
My what sharp teeth you have?!

My what sharp teeth you have?!

Let me at em'

Let me at em'

Well I ain’t braggin but hey, sometimes even a blind nut finds a squirl….. or somethang like that? You C right up the street from us not even five minutes away lives this big ole’ metal dinasaur, and he ain’t purple! I have driven by it for a couple of years and this year I just stopped in to see if he might be interested in coming over to play?

Well his owner Mike West of Wild West Entertainment is just about as nice of guy as you could meet and he said “sure we can come over”. We worked out a dinasaur dinner budget (he’s gotta eat ya know), and well two weeks now are history, and the crowds just love to come to Maize Valley to see Megasaurus do it’s version of “Making Pumpkin Pie” Maize Valley Style. We are reloading for one more show on October 24th to highlight Megasaurus’s unique dinning style of cars and pumpkins. Now This is what I call Eating Local!

This fall has been a weather diasaster for us. We have had rain EVERY weekend since we opened the corn maze and fall harvest activities. But ya know what, our sales are down but not like they should be with the terrible weather we have encountered. We have lost all our Friday nights, and most all our haunted nights due to either direct rain or mud that made things unsafe. We upped the anti this year, the new maze games outlined in previous posts I think are paying off . The maze is staying in pretty good shape considering the weather, crowds and poor condition of the corn to start with.

I addition even though the haunt has not opened (one night so far) it allowed me to leverage marketing dollars from a local sponser excited about working with us and I was able to purchase several thousand dollars in radio that has in turn leveraged some other unique marketing ideas.

With this promotional push I had the confidence to go ahead and book Megasaurus which is a national quality act seen at Monster Truck shows all over North America (A similar machine sold for over $500,000 recently). And the story goes on with an agreement for next season as well and possible additional sponsors due the momentum and scope of our efforts to date and plans for next year. “And the beat goes on…..and the beat goes on”!

It’s all fun and games till somebody pokes an eye out or something like that I think Mom used to say… But hey when trying to carve our your place in the pumpkin selling world….sometimes it’s better to be lucky (have a megasaurus live up the street) than good!

Vineyard/Crop/Events update @ Maize Valley: #Farm,#Ohiowine,#Agritourism

Friday, August 21st, 2009
Green Farmers' Market

Green Farmers' Market

Lookin' "South"
Readying for Battle

Readying for Battle

Chelle getting Blood Pressure Check at Cruise In

Chelle getting Blood Pressure Check at Cruise In

Wow, what a summer, the heat is here! I love it! Or at least I HATE plowing snow more, skiing on it cool, plowing not so much.

Things get sorta crazy in August, the weeds really pour the coal to it and grow like crazy as you can see in the Pumpkin update video. What a train wreck, nothing to be proud of there but as I said I would show “Warts and All”. Late season weed breakthrough with rain and heat, what a mess!! Frost should fix it lots of pumpkins out there.

Vintage Ohio, The Civil War Re-enactment, Farmers’ Markets, Kids in cross country, Did I mention weeds, Rain making grass grow everywhere, Did I mention weeds? Oh yea my main computer took a total CRASH, (all files backed up except “outlook”)

Thanks to all the folks visiting our ole’ green trucks at the Farmers’ Markets!!! Really getting some good sales! Thanks to all the folks coming out and buying wine and in the stores, sales good! Thanks to all the folks e-mailing and calling about fall activities like the Corn Maze, Pumpkin picking, campfires, wagon rides, the pumpkin cannon, pig races and more!!

Right now we are re-tooling and beginning the shift from growing season to harvest. Grapes changing color, pumpkins turning orange, fall is in our sights. Stay tuned for big news on the fall harvest agritourism events and activities. I might just be able to pull off a way cool added attraction this fall, check back too see!!

Check out the videos below sorry they jump around a bunch just trying to keep up with the work and the documentation of this summer’s progress and report it, it ain’t easy! Hopefully this winter I can sit down and make some better use of this data.

Take care

Corn Maze Update, “It’s in the Field”!

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Carving the "Circle MV"
Fresh Cut Pathway

Fresh Cut Pathway

Corn Maze Paths just after cutting

Corn Maze Paths just after cutting

Getting started cutting the corn maze

Getting started cutting the corn maze

This is our Tenth Anniversary Corn Maze, wow has it been that long??!! Well we are getting started and combining the maze with our new Civil War Re-enactment set to go on August 15th and 16th. Corn looks kinda short we will see, just not enough sun and heat so far. If we don’t make Aug. it will be Labor Day Weekend.

I have been getting several inquiries as to how we do our mazes and why we do things certain ways. Keep in mind this agritourism thing is a process of evolution. Not all things work at all locations. You can learn by seeing what others do and then trying certain aspects on your own place. But most of all keep asking questions. I don’t think “outside the box”, I crawl up on top of it, pick it up, & turn it over. I look at agritourism from all sides now!

We hire Rob Stoffer with Precision Mazes to handle the cut and Hugh McPherson of Maize Quest for the design and activity content. We have done it all in-house over the years but we just have too much going on now and have created such an expectation of excellence with our guests that it is now time to rely on the professionals. My brain just ain’t big enough to get it all done anymore, I don’t know if it ever was, I think I was just lucky. We have done NASCAR/NAPA, Bridgestone/Bigfoot, Formula One Racing and more. It has been a fun ride and a great way to make money while bringing such fun to families!

Keep in touch as we install the games, trivia, and all the other stuff that makes a Maize Valley an Adventure, not just a walk in a corn field. Check out the links under “Agritourism” to learn more about the great partners we have!

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!

Ohio Farm Market and Winery a quick look

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

As I have said the blog is Ohio Wine and MORE ! We are much more than a winery, just as enjoying wine or any beverage is much more than the product itself, but rather the people you share it with and the memories you build with them.

Let’s face it for all the fuss about “Big Bold Reds” etc. if you really want an alcoholic beverage with “body” search out and find a good Dark Beer! But that is just my call on that one. Wine by nature is just more delicate and suited for a different role in persons lives. And isn’t that what it is really all about, people? Yes you have to have a quality product but I like to always say you can always go back and buy more wine but you can’t go back and make more time.

I have been talking a great deal about what we “Do” in the spring time around the farm but have not mentioned our market where we sell most of it. The other day I shot a walk through video of our retail farm market, and tasting room. My camera is not the greatest when it comes to lighting so don’t think this is going to be showing up at the Sundance Film Fest. or anything.

Take Care and Hakuna Matata!!

Getting Ready for 2009 Car Cruise In Season

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
Brett helping Dad clean up "Barbara Ann"

Bar, Bar, Bar, Barbara Ann, yea that’s my car’s name. I am just 45 years young, but the Cadnum brothers who lived across the street from me growing up were a few years older than me and they were always those “cool older guys” a kid looked up to growing up. They always had cool cars from Chevelle SS’s to Z28’s to Impala’s so I just got started lovin the sound of a heavy cammed V-8, the smell of burning rubber, and the feeling Torque gives you as it shoves you back in the seat as the front end lifts up leaving a stop light. In short as they said in Top Gun “I feel the need, the need for speed” and no matter bikes or cars I gotta scratch that itch now and then.

Now I work a lot so I don’t get to cruise much and I use my car as a daily driver in the summer as much as possible. So I figured why not start a Cruise in myself. With that in mind we started the “Cruisein the Vines” car cruise at Maize Valley. EVERY Thursday evening from May 14th till September 24th we kick it out with crusin tune courtsey of Top Down D.J.’s great door prizes, 50/50 drawing, special cruiser food prices, wagon rides, barrel train rides, and later our pumpkin cannon shoot watermelons once in season. Yea we are a Winery with ADHD but we sure have a lot of fun too! We get between 50 to 300 cars depending upon the weather and time of year.

Our cruise, like most things we do, is a little different. We get as many if not more “specatator” cars as we do rods. Many times it is a cruiser’s family with grandkids and such who come out because we have such a mix of things for people to do for many generations. That way I like to think that grandma and grandpa can share their loves and hobbie with their whole family instead of just seeing a tarp covered car in the garage at Christmas.

We take wagon rides through the vineyard and surrounding fields and talk about the crops and what is growing around the farm too. And as I mentioned earlier when we get some plentiful ammo the cannon comes out and all the “gear heads” really love it. It is just as one sponser put it “Stupid Fun”. I’ll be telling you more about the cannon as the year goes along, think discovery channel type stuff.

This past weekend I got my ride out and duster her off for use this summer. My son Brett is Autistic, but when I said please go get the vacume to clean out the car he was “ON IT”! She has a lot of use on her anymore but still gets lots of looks and is fun to drive but most of all my kids love her!

At Maize Valley, We Make Great Wine…FUN!!

Buds are breaking! Weeds a shaking! & A View from the Tractor Seat.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009
Sea of Yellow

Sea of Yellow

LaCrescent wine grape buds are breaking

LaCrescent wine grape buds are breaking

They said it was supposed to rain today so I got out early and started mowing in the vineyards. I needed to chop up some of the wood they cut off during pruning and get a head start on the grass too. The front vineyard photo has a good view of the buds on the LaCrescent breaking and starting to show some color. This is good and bad, its good they survived the winter so well, its bad if they all get out here too early and we have a late killing frost. This variety is a hearty variety so it usually does well we just always worry about any fruit with too many emerged buds too early.

Our older vines are in the back. We never seeded grass in this block and it shows.

Rich Top soil and High ground too, plus some wine info…. WOW

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Galen's boys picking up rocks behing my house

Galen's boys picking up rocks behing my house

Freshly plowed ground ready for sweet corn seed

Freshly plowed ground ready for sweet corn seed

As you see we are getting ready to plant, Kay my father-in-law has been busy with Galen and the crews getting ready to start putting some seeds in the ground.

We do no-till, minimum tillage, and conventional farm techniques at Maize Valley. For the early vegtable crops we go pretty much conventional or the “old School” plowing and working the ground. We do that because that helps to warm the soil up and dry it out and that is really important to us early in the season. We go to farmers’ markets and for our own market our season is so short we have to try and get a crop to market as soon as possible.

We do plant “winter cover crops” such as winter rye as much as we can till it gets too late in the fall. They help hold the soil in place over the winter then we either let them grow up and bale the straw, or we plow them under as a “green manure” to add organic matter back to the soil. But you can’t let the rye get too big where you want to plant sweet corn because as the rye gets bigger it releases a chemical into the soil that is harmful to sweet corn! So when you hear about “chemicals” always get the rest of the story as a famous person used to say, mother nature has some too!

I also have a neat link in here I got off of twitter about the Ohio wine history, be sure to check it out.http://www.thesecondglass.com/features/they-make-wine-there-ohio

Animal Rescue of sorts

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Pork Chop enjoying breakfast

Pork Chop enjoying breakfast

Chip Chop and Pork Chop getting Breakfast

Chip Chop and Pork Chop getting Breakfast

You may have seen our lovely pigs on the website, There names are Chip Chop and Pork Chop. They came to us as sort of a “rescue of sorts”. Last summer a gentleman over the hill had a bit of trouble with the law. As a result he got to spend some time away from home. When he left on his “unscheduled vacation” the group of animals he had at home got left behind. Some of the people who came to help involved in “animal wellfare” found value in the chickens and other marketable and useful animals but these two pigs did not get any love and were just let go.

Well they lived right next to the vegtable fields of the “Hartville Swamps” and being summer they had quite the selection to chose from but the local produers did not like it so much, so they got ran off. I got a phone call late one Sunday night wanting to know if I wanted A pig. After twisting my arm I agreed and loe and behold one turned into two upon arrival and the rest is history.

These guys are so ugly they are cute and have found a home at Maize Valley’s Petting Pasture. The pics here show my wife Michelle giving them breakfast. They prefere white bread over wheat, and saved the Blue berry pie for desert.

Todd and Jessie were out in the vineyards yesterday tieing and pruning hope to have more about that later.

I gotta go get something done today! Awesome weather and I hope to get enough done so I can go out and ride the VStrom some this weekend.

One of our native american flower beds

Monday, April 6th, 2009
One of native american flower beds

One of native american flower beds,
originally uploaded by FunTSAR.

Last Saturday I took a quick shot of one of our Native American Flower beds we planted last spring.

The idea here is to get some perenial flowers growing. The plants we put in were growing in the Midwest and if we can get them established should last till the next ice age with a little bit of care.

It is quite a challenge to get them started and it is not cheap either. We have some plants coming back this year we just hope they can out compete the non-native weed species that have taken over the area.

If we can get them going it is just one more reason for you to come and see why Maize Valley IS the place to BE!