Posts Tagged ‘Family Farm’

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

“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: Equipment work

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
Prepping equipment for spring work

Prepping equipment for spring work

Wordless Wednesday! Got Bread?

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

Nothing saz “Summer” like a Ruby Red Raspberry @Maize Valley!

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Red n Ripe!

Red n Ripe!

Last years crop of Red Raspberries just recently found its way into the bottle in the winery but it’s story didn’t start there. There was a great deal of work that went into getting that rich red goodness into that glass carrier of pleasure.

Red Raspberry Beds

Red Raspberry Beds

Well the snow might still be on the ground but we are getting ready for those long hot daz of summer! 🙂
Along with all the “good-for-you” vegi’s we grow at Maize Valley we also grow fruit. One of the most sexy fruits out there has to Red Raspberries. Especially when Todd my brother-in-law and our wine maker balances the sugar with the acidity and makes our Red Rasperry wine.

Visiting Relatives

Visiting Relatives

Like most things on the farm Rasperries take a great deal of work. The first years we pruned the berries we used a chain saw and walked down the rows all bent over and such swinging the saw back and forth. We then graduated to a weed eater with a metal saw blade on it. This was better but still not a whole lot of fun. Now we thing we got it down! I bought this 40 year old sickle bar mower last fall and what was old is now new again.

Oh, yea more winter??? Well take THIS we R planting @Maize Valley!

Friday, March 4th, 2011
Mater's movin' on!

Mater's movin' on!

At Maize Valley yes we say “We Make Great Wine…FUN!!” But we also still grow a whole bunch of stuff besides just grapes and make wine. There are five family members currently involved in our farm. Todd makes the wine, Michelle runs the store, Bill is the “Fun TSAR” and does stuff like this blog, Donna handles the banking and running and all “that” kind of stuff and Kay grows the vegi’s.

Tomatoes waiting for a new home

Tomatoes waiting for a new home

These tomatoes should hit be ready end of May or so we are planning on and have flavor like a field rippened fruit should have growing in the soil. It is really tough competing with the imported tomatoes from the South. We try and grow a great local product early that we can sell at farmers’ markets and sell in our market and also serve in our entree’s in our Winery Cafe’.

Come on little guy, U can do it!

Come on little guy, U can do it!

There are also Asian Greens, Spinach, Lettuce and Radishes in this greenhouse.

We have tried a variety of early growing techniques over the years. Some have worked better than others. One year we tried to cover melons with a “row cover” that covered the beds in the field. That worked great till two years of back to back wind storms pretty much gave us the counties largest kite.

Wordless Wednesday, Got ARK?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
Sweet Corn Fields

Sweet Corn Fields

The house my wife’s Grandfather was born in and a Red Neck Sauna

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Country Roads

Country Roads

Back in the day when my wife of now over 25 years and I were first married a couple of years after we were married we had the opportuntity to purchase the house her grandfather was born in. Nobody knows how old it is as his parents were not the first to live there.

Our home

Our home

You see he died over 15 years ago now and was in his late 80’s, this is an old house. For indoor plumbing it had a kitchen sink downstairs and upstairs a commode and a sink. The shower was in the block building about 50 feet out behind the house. If you look in the picture above it is slightly to right of center of the pic. The building was built for when they drilled the well and built a cinder block building above and around it. It had a sink and a shower

The farm has a “gas allotment”, meaning there are natural gas wells and we get a certain amount of gas for “free”. It’s a good thing too because when we moved in the house it has ZERO insulation. But the block house had one awesome little natural gas heater. You could turn it up to about 90 degrees in there if you wanted and make our own little redneck sauna. We were young just barely out of college then and it was sort of fun I guess, it was real. It was real warm till you had to make the dash back to the house on a cold winter night after coming home from the dairy barn that is.

They say “you don’t own an old house…It owns you”!

Someday I suppose I might tell this story to someone’s grand children too, I suppose…

But the wash house was still warmer than the barn!

But the wash house was still warmer than the barn!

Wordless Wednesday: Doin’ it “Winery Style” @ Maize Valley

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Better than Sex

Better than Sex