Posts Tagged ‘Farm Market’

Breakfast with Santa part 3, Ohio Wine gifts helping Mom out when she needs it the most!

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

This blog post is the last of three outlining how we do Breakfast with the “Big Guy”! We talked about how we took care of the kids and what we did for the family. But what about Mom (or Dad) looking to by that special local gift? We feature Ohio Wines made right on the farm.

Got gifts?

Got gifts?

And we don’t just have “wine only” gifts either we also carry a variety of other holiday related items to help fill in some gaps people may have. But have you ever had a Chocolate Covered wine bottle given to you as a gift? Hey, you got your chocolate in my wine, No your got your wine in my chocolate…….Do you see where I’m headed? Besides that we have other unique gifts including our Home made Fudge, cookies, pies, pie breads that warm the heart and soul.

Chocolate Bottles

Chocolate Bottles

So as I look back at all we do I am reminded our slogan “We have a Vintage for all the seasons of you life” is really true. We are not trying to be crafty or have some huge marketing plot behind what we do. We just try and make every lick count, and keep the ball rolling best we can from day to day, season to season, year to year, generation to generation. And now about the “General” behind this event. There really are two, of course “Santa” I give him props he really keeps us on our toes all year round, but also my wife Michelle.

The leader of the pack this day

The leader of the pack this day

But not just the leader of the pack this day, barely two weeks after a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. This picture was taken December 2009, we are now getting ready for the 2013 event and I’m thankful everyday to have her.

Michelle my wife and "survivor"

My wife Michelle and her Mom Donna (Center and right) both breast cancer survivors.

So yes we are about building memories to last a lifetime. We are about creating a place that is authentic and hopefully a meaningful place in people’s lives both in location and time. We are about a family farm who is discovering ways to take the resources we have and repurpose them in unique ways that make a difference in people’s lives. We don’t expect people to give us their business, but we hope we can earn it. No we plan on earning it.

Holiday cheer by the truckload

Holiday cheer by the truckload

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 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.

Spring time in the Vineyard

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

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

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Winter time Field Drain Tile Work

Winter time Field Drain Tile Work

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Final Ride

Final Ride

Don’t be left out in the cold!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
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!

Wine? What kinds of grapes are used for different types of wines? Part 3 Final

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

As part of R “Ask the Ohio Wine and More Blog” series. Amber from The Karcher Group (TKG, R web host) asked the title question for this blog post. What kinds of grapes are used for different types of wines?

Amber Mullen

Amber Mullen w/TKG, C! These people DO exist I'm not making this up!

If you look back to Dec. 27th you can see the first post about Native American Grapes as post #1 the second on Vinifera and here in Part three the French American Hybrid. Amber asked a BIG question!

Before you just read this post please review the Dec. 27th post to understand the context I am answering this question in. I am trying to be brief and too the point. I took the following from Wikipedia, it says it very well.

Merzling grape

The hybrid grape Merzling created by a crossing Seyve-Villard 5276 with a cross Riesling x Pinot Gris.

During the first half of the 20th century, various breeding programs were developed in an attempt to deal with the consequences of the Phylloxera louse, which was responsible for the destruction of European vineyards from 1863 onwards. After extensive attempts, grafting European varieties onto North American rootstock proved to be the most successful method of dealing with the problem.

However, hybrid grape varieties were introduced as a solution to many of the viticultural problems of cooler and more humid wine regions, such as those in the northeast of North America. From the 1950s onwards, grape varieties such as De Chaunac, Baco noir, Marechal Foch, Vidal, etc. have been a staple of the wine industries in Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, etc. Only since the 1970s and 1980s have vinifera varieties begun to displace hybrid grapes in this area. Even in those areas where vitis vinifera now predominates, hybrid varieties still have “cult following” with some wine consumers. Furthermore, in some cases hybrid grapes are used to produce unique and exceptional products; for example, ice wine produced from Vidal blanc or Vignoles in Ontario and New York.

Round baling Hay

Round baling Hay

But you asked me the question so how does that effect us? At Maize Valley we farm about 800+ acres from Garlic to Green Beans and Alfalfa to Tomatoes about 50 different crops and grapes too. We have a multitude of different soil types and topographies.

"Organic" Muck soils

Our "Organic" Muck soils

We have messed around with a few varieties of grapes and currently have some Native American Concord and Catawba. Seen here below.

Catawbwa

Catabwa

But our work horses’ are turning out to be our La Crescent, Frontenac and Frontenac Gris all French American Hybrids developed in the Minnesota….eh!

La Crescent

Our La Crescent

This particular white grape makes a very bright clean fruit forward wine that has nice flora notes and a citrus like finish. We grow it on a sandy nob in one field just about 100 yards west of that picture of black soil above. You are welcome to go out and visit this field if you make a trip out to the winery. It is about 200 yards behind and about 400 yard to the East of the main building.

Replanting dead plants

Replanting dead plants

We also experimented with the Vinifera grape Riesling and Pino Gris without much success. We could get them to grow just fine throughout the summer but 2 yrs. in a row they died back to the snow line. We could keep trying but we are going to rip those plants out and plant another Hybrid because while we might sooner or later get a crop we can’t tie up valuable acreage and labor caring for a crop we might only get every three years and then not sure if it will be very good.

My lovely wife Michelle!

My lovely wife Michelle!

So there ya go Amber, Native American grapes mostly the sweeter wines, Vinifers’ can be sweet but lend themselves to dryer more full bodied wines but needed the root stock of the other to survive, and the Hybrids sort of fill in the middle and take up the slack and can flex a bit and survive best in a variety of locations.

B sure to enjoy it with friends!

B sure to enjoy it with friends!

But most of all remember you can always go back and get more wine but you can never go back a make more time!