Posts Tagged ‘Farmers’ Market’

Balloon Lift off September 27th 2014, Corn Maze wagon rides and a whole lot more.

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Lots of hot air!

Lots of hot air!

We open our Corn Maze in Mid-September but our Balloon Lift has grown into our sort of unofficial Kick Off for the fall harvest season. It takes a few crisp mornings and few trees changing color to get people thinking about a trip to the pumpkin patch or corn maze.

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

Our balloon lift started over a dozen years ago when I asked a neighbor who owned a balloon if he would get a few friends together and take off from our farm. It has gotten to be a fall tradition. We launch between six and eight balloons from the meadow up back near our corn maze and campfire site area. Folks are welcome to get a up close view of the balloon crews at work as they prepare to take to the skies.

Grab a seat wherever you can!

Grab a seat wherever you can!

You can bring a blanket a lawn chair or grab a seat wherever you can! Our giant hay/straw crawl is a favorite place to relax as the balloons unfold and inflate and take to the skies.

Or just keep crawling!

Or just keep crawling!

Kids just love to climb on things! One thing we learned over the years is if it sticks up out of the field, Kids love to climb on it so we just go with it. We try and build as many farm theme consistent safe and fun fresh air opportunities to get out and have fun!

Wide open spaces!

Wide open spaces!

One unique thing about our farm is the setting. We sit up on a nice gentle hilltop surrounded by fields. The field we launch balloons from we make hay off of.

Somebody left their "sippy cup" unattended!

Somebody left their "sippy cup" unattended!

Some people ask can you have alcohol at a “family event”? We say yes you can. There are three to six hours worth of activities depending upon your level of abilities and interests. Folks can easily enjoy our wines or now new craft beers responsibly and be safe going home.

Did I mention kids like to climb?

Did I mention kids like to climb?

We encourage parents to get out and have fun with their off spring! We have lots of places for fresh air and exercise. So come on out September 27th, visit the balloon lift link on our web site for more information.

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

What are the best regions for growing wine in Ohio?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

As part of our our “ask the Ohio Wine and More Blog” from folks this question comes from Josh Gordon with the Karcher Group.

Josh Gordon w/TKG

Josh Gordon w/TKG

Ohio is very diverse state in many respects from manufacturing to agriculture. Within the Agriculture portion wine grape production ranges dramatically.

Ohio Rivers Map

Ohio Rivers Map

At one point in time the Cincinnati region was the largest grape growing and wine producing area in the United States. The production was made up of primarily Native American Grape varieties with Catawba leading the way.

Ohio Wine Map

Ohio Wine Map

The Ohio River Valley AVA is the birthplace of American viticulture. Wine has been produced in Ohio since 1823 when Nicholas Longworth planted the first Alexander and Isabella grapes in the Ohio River Valley. In 1825, Longworth planted the first Catawba grapes in Ohio. Others soon planted Catawba in new vineyards throughout the state and by 1860, Catawba was the most important grape variety in Ohio. At this time, Ohio produced more wine than any other state in the country, and Cincinnati was the most important city in the national wine trade. Of the 570,000 gallons of wine that were produced each year in Ohio, 200,000 came from Brown county.

The area is mostly planted with hybrid grapes like Baco Noir, Marechal Foch, Seyval Blanc and Vidal. Of the Vitis vinifera found in the area Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Petit Manseng and Riesling are the most commonly found. Cabernet Franc is probably one of the most consistant hybrids planted in the Southern part of the state.

Map of Ohio River Valley

Map of Ohio River Valley

The Grand River Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in portions of the Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula counties of northeastern Ohio. The wine appellation includes all the land that is contained within the larger, multi-state Lake Erie AVA that is also within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the Grand River or 14 miles (22.5 km) of the shoreline of Lake Erie.Like the Mosel, Bordeaux and the Sonoma/Russian River Valley, the gently rolling landscape of the Grand River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) benefits from a climate moderated by the thermal effects of a large body of water, in this case, Lake Erie to the north.

Grand River Map

Grand River Map

The Grand River Valley AVA produces wines from Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Riesling, Pinot noir and Cabernet Franc grapes. White wines such as Riesling do best in the North.

In recent years with the resurgance of wine it has been motivation for development of
new grape varities that can be planted and thrive in areas other than the two regions mentioned above. For instance at Maize Valley we plant a French American Variety called La Crescent which makes a light crisp tropical fruit forward wine which we are having success growing and selling as finished wine.

Can you make wine from other things than grapes?

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Hey it’s getting cold outside and this farmer has more time to cozy up to the keyboard! But so what, cuz a common problem among some bloggers, (me included) is writers block, or just plain running out of interesting things to say/write.

Add in the fact that I didn’t want to just ramble on and mono-log just to hear myself talk and sound like some sort of egoistical, “all that and a bag of chips” author of cyber space I hatched a plan!

I work with a web developer that hosts our web site, helps me manage our web social media accounts and does SEO (search engine optimization) for us. I’m young at 48 but if ya believe that their office is like pre-school!

The Karcher Group

The Karcher Group

They have ping-pong tables, squishy “brain-balls” to squeeze,

Karcher Brain Bucket

Karcher Brain Bucket

bean bag chairs, cool night club lighting, just a very contemporary place to work. I asked my account manager (yes they do use official sounding terms like that) to get me 20 questions that this staff/posse’ would have about what we do on the farm/winery/vineyard and they delivered! So now and then we will roll them out and use them to help me get over the blog-humps! We hope ya’ll enjoy too! 🙂

Ben asked: Can you make wine from other things than grapes?

YES you can! Is is just that juice from grapes is naturally suited for making wine and needs little adjustment before fermentation. Grapes supply enough sugar and the proper amount of acid to produce wines without adjusting them at all except fermenting. So what do you need to do if you want to make wine from something other than grapes?

Fruits other than grapes adjustments are almost always necessary but can be done. You need to know the following.
1) How much fruit needed per gallon.
2) How much available sugar there is and needs to be tested and adjusted.
3) What the juice’s acidity is and it needs to be tested and adjusted.
4) Yeast selection, you need to be sure the right food is there so it can do well during fermentation.

Strawberry Mulching

At Maize Valley our very 1st award winning wine was Strawberry. It was gold medal winner. But saying that we have not been able to replicate that since! It is HARD to do from berries (which we grow). The problem with many fruits is that their acids are too high or low, they don’t have enough sugar and often have lots of fiber and pulp compared to grapes. We can and still do carry a wide variety of fruit wines (our cranberry is to die for, and is one of the few fruit wines that is not overly sweet and pairs well with food) most of them tend to be on the sweeter side and have a less complex flavor profile comparability speaking.

Strawberries with blossoms

Strawberries with blossoms

Also cost is a BIG factor. Fruit production has been and continues to be geographically concentrated compared to years gone by. We also grow Raspberries on our farm at Maize Valley.

Add in recently discovered and widely publicized health benefits of take for instance Blueberry’s, and this fruit can cost significantly more than grapes and the market is more limited for fruit wines.

Blueberries

Blueberries

But I don’t ANYTHING beats the flavor of fresh Raspberries on a hot summer day!

An alternative to that is to make fruit (or other than grape wines) from juice concentrates. This can be done just fine. But this tends to make a product that is somewhat simple and lacks many of the characteristics many wine consumers seek out when selecting wine as their beverage of choice for whatever the occasion may be. But is you enjoy it that is just fine!

The point is like craft beers and other high end spirits, I suggest that you use wine as a wonderful journey. There are things we do to live but there are things we do that make life worth living. Wine lends itself to the latter. So spend some time with it get to know it, discover that there is an entire world of wine to explore grape and otherwise.

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

So What’s New this Fall At Maize Valley?? Well ya better sit down, this is gonna take a bit!

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

U Can Call me….FRANK!

U can call me Frank!

U can call me Frank!

Ok so if you havn’t seen the movie “Cars” you may not know who the i’ll tempered Combine “Frank” is that chases Lightning and Mater across the field protecting his flock of tractors from the “Tractor Tipping Duo”!

My father in law requested the tailings fan

My father in law requested the tailings fan

Now I guess I just “think” different than other people??

My Son Brett lending a helping hand

My Son Brett lending a helping hand

Ya see some of the doctors say Brett is mildly “Autistic”. My “therapy” for him is to immerse him in hands on experiences that teach him to think and use all his senses to forge new pathways and live a full life. Farmer Bill’s take on a condition.

Parts and pieces parts

Parts and pieces parts

We will save all this stuff and haul it to the scrap yard this winter.

Looks like a Future ball pit if ya axe me!

Looks like a Future ball pit if ya axe me!

Slide, slide, everywhere a slide blockin' out the.....

Slide, slide, everywhere a slide blockin' out the.....

Fall Harvest is here, We offer a “Vintage for all the seasons of your life”

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
Can U guess my weight?

Can U guess my weight?

Well we have survived another wonderful summer here in Ohio and now it is time to harvest the fruits of our labor.

Opening weekend wagon rides

Opening weekend wagon rides

This past weekend was “Opening weekend” at Maize Valley. We sort of have a “soft opening” to say we don’t promote it too much. We like to get our new staff in and run them through the paces a bit so they can learn the ropes.

Many of them are returning veterans from years past, and many it is their first job ever!

New things for the NASHOG pig races

New things for the NASHOG pig races

This year I am handing the NASHOG Pig races over to a new staff member we call Kaw-Girl-Kelly. She is doing fine! But some days I’m not sure who is training whom, the pigs or her??!!

Great neighbors "Down Range"

Great neighbors "Down Range"

We are blessed with great neighbors “down range” from our pumpkin cannon. Yea they R a half mile away but I have reached out and touched a few of their Christmas trees over the years. This year they are daring me to “Target them”. C our pumpkin patch is right next to their trees this year and they should get lots of folks checking them out for their next ride to gather experiences with their families.

This Day found us still baling hay

This Day found us still baling hay

We are a working farm and we were working right up to the day we opened baleing hay and picking grapes all in the same day while giving wagon rides and shooting pumpkins!

Brett Says the Bale Crawl is READY!

Brett Says the Bale Crawl is READY!

And Don’t forget our big dog the Pumpkin Cannon and it Carnage!

What happens to a pumpkin after it flys about 1/3 of a mile

What happens to a pumpkin after it flys about 1/3 of a mile

As I looked around it all seemed so small this weekend but I know what is coming next. Thousands and Thousands of people who come to us to build memories to last a lifetime.

A Vintage for all the season of you life at Maize Valley

A Vintage for all the season of you life at Maize Valley

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! 🙂