Posts Tagged ‘Agri-tourism’

Vineyard…Rounding 3rd headed 4 Home

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Farmer Bill back at the blog helm, kids busy back in school. Well the vineyard has come into its own. This is its 4th fall and it is cranking this year. What we picked in 1 day last year is now into its 5th day of picking in 2011 at Maize Valley.

Wow what a crop

Wow what a crop

Frontenac reflects the best characteristics of its parents, V. riparia 89 and the French hybrid Landot 4511. This vine has borne a full crop after temperatures as low as -33ºF when properly cared for. It’s very disease resistant, with near-immunity to downy mildew. Frontenac is a consistently heavy producer, with small, black berries in medium to large clusters.

Frontenac Grapes

Frontenac Grapes

Wine Profile

Frontenac’s deep garnet color complements its distinctive cherry aroma and inviting palate of blackberry, black currant, and plum. This versatile grape can be made into a variety of wine styles, including rosé, red, and port.

Todd plays with the new Crusher/Destemer

Todd plays with the new Crusher/Destemer

Crusher-destemmers are used for bulk processing of grapes during harvest in preparation for pressing or primary fermentation. The crushers utilize a set of aluminum rollers that crush and break the skins to release the juice and allow the breakdown of the remaining pulp. A screw feeder moves the grapes to the rollers to begin crushing, dropping the skins and pulp onto a perforated grid, while a shaft with paddles causes the stems to be separated from the grape clusters which are then expelled to the side of the crusher. The rollers should be adjusted to properly crush and break the skins while avoiding bruising or abrading the skins which would release phenols and excess tannin, thus adding astringency to the must and the final product. White grapes are crushed before pressing, while red grapes are crushed for immediate fermentation to maximize yield of tannins and flavors, then pressed after the skins and pulp are broken down by the fermentation process.

LaCrescent grapes going into the the Crusher/Destemmer

LaCrescent grapes going into the the Crusher/Destemmer

La Crescent combines St. Pepin and a Swenson selection from V. riparia x Muscat Hamburg. With this hardy heritage, trunks have survived a frigid -34°F when well cared for in good vineyard sites. Moderately disease resistant, leaves sometimes exhibit downy mildew, which can be controlled with a standard spray program. Proper conditions and care result in very productive harvests.

Just the stems Mamm, Just the stems

Just the stems Mamm, Just the stems

Wine Profile

La Crescent’s intense nose of apricot, peach, and citrus lends itself to superior quality off-dry or sweet white wines. Produced in a Germanic style, La Crescent wine is reminiscent of Vignoles or Riesling. The grape’s high acidity provides good structure for excellent dessert or late-harvest style wines.

Fall is sorta like a blur to us

Fall is sorta like a blur to us

Props for the info above from the University of Minnesota (http://www.grapes.umn.edu/lac/index.html)

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! 🙂

Vineyard news! Loooooookin’ GooD!

Friday, August 19th, 2011

This post written by Bill Bakan the Fun TSAR from Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery.

Rounding Third and heading home

Rounding Third and heading home

Well it has been an interesting year down on the farm. Some good some bad. Bottom line we are still in there swinging! It was a long cold winter, I had to push way too much snow. That gave way to a cool wet spring with not many breaks to get and early field work done.

Vineyard views

Vineyard views

We grow about 40-50 different crops and so we just kept planting what we could when we could. Good news was the rain and cloud cover did keep the late frosts away that often threaten the grape buds towards the later part of May. I hate to have a clear night on that last full moon in May, that is what can give us trouble.

Long view

Long view

So now we are heading down the home stretch and just have to finish strong. We need to keep the birds from trying to destory our best crop yet. We also have to keep an eye out for late season pathogens sneaking in and trying to spoil the party at the end. The Japanese Beetles have not been too big an issue this year which we count as a good thing too.

We are about 2-3 weeks away from starting harvest with some varities as much as 4-6 weeks till they mature. Then we start the fun part of turning our harvest into a product. Yea that is a bit of work but I always laugh when some of our winery owner peers think growing grapes and running a winery is a lot of work.

I just smile and say….So you have never milked cows, have you? 🙂

Vintage Ohio… It’s time to get your wine on………!

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Maize Valley Returns to Vintage Ohio for 2011!!

Maize Valley at Vintage Ohio

Maize Valley at Vintage Ohio

It’s time to get your wine on………! The Midwest’s largest and best known wine and food festival is just around the corner. Twenty five wineries from every corner of the state attend this gala event.

And the're off!!!

And the're off!!!

Exceptional food [note the menus from Cleveland’s own Gourmet Food Trucks], 3 stages of live music, Friday fireworks, a cooking stage and educational seminars by the American Wine society, all amid huge oak trees and the rolling grassy fields at the Lake Farmpark. Full details are listed at http://www.visitvintageohio.com/ So plan a little getaway.

Look for the "Circle MV"

Look for the "Circle MV"

Tell the boss that Friday August 5 you have ‘important’ plans — or forget mowing the grass on Saturday, August 6th. Hop in the car and spend a wonderful weekend with your friends from Maize Valley and all of their fellow winemakers. Order on line at http://www.visitvintageohio.com/or call 800-227-6972 to save by purchasing your tickets in advance. August 5th and 6th from 1 til 10 pm each day.

Michelle says Come on by!

Michelle says Come on by!

See you at Vintage Ohio!

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

Cara’s 1st blog post!!! a day @ the roadside stand

Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Cara and little Bro Brett getting started!
Cara and little Bro Brett getting started!

So what is coming up down on the farm you ask? All kinds of things my Dad says it’s been a tough start to the year with all the rain but things are sort of catching up now. I turn 18 next month but I have already been selling produce grow on our family farm for Half my Life!!!

Grandpa Kay cultivating beans

Grandpa Kay cultivating beans

This blog’s name is “Ohio Wine and More” yes my family owns and operated a winery and a vineyard but it is so much, well “More”! For me growing up a “Farmer’s Daughter” has meant

The Farmer’s Daughters….No this not a joke about a traveling saleman!

Monday, July 18th, 2011
The nut does not fall far from the Tree

The nut does not fall far from the Tree

 

After much consternation I have been able to get my two wonderful daughters to assist with some of Maize Valley’s Social Media work!

 

Breanne is absolutly thrilled with me!

Breanne is absolutly thrilled with me!

This year has been, well just tough.  It started with a long, snowy and cold winter.  We went right into a VERY wet and long and cool spring.  Now we are looking at some extremly dry conditions.  We still raise crops on about 700 acres and this weather pattern has made it challenging to get all the field work done AND keep bringing out all the new cool events, products, ideas and good times at Maize Valley.

X-Country Runners

X-Country Runners

It has been hard to keep up with the Ohio Wine and More Blog too.  So I (Farmer Bill the Fun TSAR at Maize Valley) have enlisted the assistance of my off spring to help PAY THEIR CELL PHONE BILLS , among other things I am putting them too work.

 

Cara on the climb

Cara on the climb

 

To be fair they are awesome kids.  We started Cara working at the age of 9 selling produce, making change and meeting people when she was 9 years of age.  Breanne has been mowing in the vineyard, helping in the corn mazes, and a whole lot of watching her little brother  all the while too.

With Mom and little Bro Brett at Put in Bay

With Mom and little Bro Brett at Put in Bay

But now I need their help even more with the most important thing, telling our story.  You see the house they grew up in THEIR Greatgrandfather was born in.  Their grandpa is still growing the crops today, and their Mom and Dad try and provide for them selling all the great things Maize Valley grows and makes.  Now we need them to help us continue to tell that story.

 

A "Survivor Mom" w/her 2 Daughters

A "Survivor Mom" w/her 2 Daughters

 

So I introduce to you the “Next Generation” of Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery to help tell you the “Rest of the Story”, Cara and Breanne Bakan.  I hope you enjoy their perspectives of what it is like to be a “farmers daughter”.

 

Me and my little girls helping install a engine in my cafe racer bike

Me and my little girls helping install a engine in my cafe racer bike

Wordless Wednesday!!

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
Got Ur Q.R. code?

Got Ur Q.R. code?

“Lettuce” show U what we do! Oh I crack myself up sometimes

Monday, April 4th, 2011

About a day before I shot the video of making the raised beds in the greenhouse from the former blog post they had just finished planting some lettuce with our “oh so cute” little planter.

John Deere 1020 and our "mini-planter"

At Maize Valley we used to farm about 3,000 acres and had all the “big equipment” that went with it. Combines, semi trucks, custom applicators, etc. etc. Many machines have come and gone but the little ole’ tractor in the pic above was my wife Michelle grandfather’s tractor. Ethan Rohr was his name and he along with her Grandmother Bernice who is still kicking at about 98yrs+ young lived about 100 yards down the road from our home in what was our dairy farm.

BIG three row planter!!!!

BIG three row planter!!!!

I guess my point is we are very much blend of the old and the new and we are always changing. Farming is tough and many don’t make it, but you have to be smart too just like any other like of work. This planter is as about as far as you can get from our old days with a 12 row corn planter and still be farming.

Soil in greenhouse after planting was done

Soil in greenhouse after planting was done

There is so much “hand-wringing” now about how tough the economy is. Well yea, but we would be unemployed too if we had not had the will to change and re-train ourselves to think differently in how we grew stuff and how we sold it. We had to change and it was tough, we had to learn new skills and adapt to evolving landscape that we were invested in.

I’ll try and do my best to follow this crop along this spring for you.

Wordless Wednesday! Got Bread?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
The FunTSAR got 2 do the "Best Thing"!!