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


November 29

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


November 27

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


November 26

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


November 25

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”


November 18

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”


November 12

“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.

Spring time in the Vineyard


March 8

Greetings from farmer Bill at Maize Valley!  We are located in Northeast Ohio near the small town of Hartville, Ohio.  It has been a very mild winter and spring looks to be the same so far.

A rainy day in the vineyard

A rainy day in the vineyard

At Maize Valley we say we make great wine fun and have a vintage for all the seasons of your life. To get great Ohio Wine we have to grow the crop first and that starts early in the year. Our vineyard and grapes are a big part of the local fresh produce we grow on the farm.

50 plus degrees, too warm for March 8th

50 plus degrees, too warm for March 8th

Back in the day we got started our Corn Maze, Pumpkin Picking, Hay rides and oh my has it grown. On March 17th we celebrate the 7th anniversary of our winery. But this year the temps are a bit warm for early March. We’ll keep you posted but temps are supposed to be in the 60’s next week as well and that is not good.

No SNOW 4 U!

No SNOW 4 U!

Now don’t get me wrong, I ain’t a big fan of snow unless I’m on a pair of ski’s, but it has been wet and not too cold this winter. If it stays this warm too long the grapes will wake up and we could get a early bud break. That is when the buds come out of their protective winter coverings in part of the vine cane and start to get ready to grow. Not so good if a frost comes along and freezes them off.

Canes waiting to be pruned

Canes waiting to be pruned

So for now we’ll keep an eye on them a not get in to big a hurry to prune in case we need more of the cane to keep more buds.

 

Wordless Wednesday


February 15

Winter time Field Drain Tile Work

Winter time Field Drain Tile Work

Wordless Wednesday


February 8

Final Ride

Final Ride

Don’t be left out in the cold!


January 31

It can get lonely out there!

It can get lonely out there!

January is in the books! WoW this has been one of the most productive winter months we have had in years. Last winter I started pushing snow the first week in December and didn’t stop till March. This year I’ve only had the plow on my truck twice!!! 🙂 Woot-WoOt!

Giving the old Trac-hoe a "boost"!

Giving the old Trac-hoe a "boost"!

We are planning a new winery expansion so we are taking quotes. We need to have this building up by August to keep up with inventory and sales needs. But in the meantime we moved a old barn that was actually stradeling the property line. A old issue from way back when we bought the property the barn sat on that we were going to get too….some day. Well the house sold and it needed moved.

Moving the barn while we had a little frost in the ground

Moving the barn while we had a little frost in the ground

We put a 3 season enclosure around our “Gateway Pavilion” so we can get started with Corn Hole tournaments in the spring and extend our fall outdoor season as well. Raidient heating going in next! It should be a GREAT place to come out and play with a sweat shirt on even down into the 40’s!

Brad and Bruce Dickerhoof of Rainmain Const.

Brad and Bruce Dickerhoof of Rainmain Const.

Corn Hole, live tunes, ping-pong, just a place to come and play!

Getting our "game-face" on!

Getting our "game-face" on!

All the while we are still growing some really tasty stuff in the greenhouses for the farmers’ markets and our Vintner’s Dinner series. Boy this was a outstanding meal with spinach salad and green beans coming right from our own farm in January in Ohio!

Yo Popeye!

Yo Popeye!

Did I mention we are launching a new fitness program next spring and I am getting ready for it by going through the p90x fitness program?

Mouth watering!

Mouth watering!

We had a Red Solo Cup Nite in the Winery! OMG that ROCKED us like no other January “mini-event”. Way too much fun!

Red Solo Cup...I fill U up!

Red Solo Cup...I fill U up!

We had a Island Party too with who else but the Island Dr. of course….How low can U go?

p90x yoga, yea that helps!

p90x yoga, yea that helps!

Mom and Dad on their 65th!

Mom and Dad on their 65th!

Did I forget to mention that my Mom and Dad celebrated their 65th Wedding anniversary??

Display from the Indiana Young Farmer Conference

Display from the Indiana Young Farmer Conference

I even had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Indiana Farm Bureau Young Farmer Conference. What a great group of young farmers! Reminded me of my wife and I bout 18 yrs ago!!!

Naw! This is the Keynote crowd!  I had much smaller room!

Naw! This is the Keynote crowd! I had much smaller room!

All in all a very good month and we got eleven more to go to make 2012 even better than 2011 and we are pumped!

p90x week 6!  Bring It!

p90x week 6! Bring It!

So stay tuned for more of what is coming up from down on the farm, market, and winery at Maize Valley. We have a vintage for all the seasons of your life!

R house is a very, very fine house!

R house is a very, very fine house!

Did forget to say I have a beautiful family?? 🙂

Yes, her date knows I carry a gun!

Yes, her date knows I carry a gun!


 
 

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