Posts Tagged ‘Farmers’ Market’

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"!!

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.

Shop work on the farm, Come Monday it’ll B alright! :-)

Monday, March 7th, 2011
1952 Ford F5 Farmers' Market Truck in the shop for winter repairs

1952 Ford F5 Farmers' Market Truck in the shop for winter repairs

At Maize Valley We Make Great Wine…FUN, that is just “how we roll”! And these trucks are a big part of how we do actually “roll”. I found this truck in warehouse about eight years ago with 3,343 original miles on it. We used it here or there around the farm and parades etc. for a while till we really “put it back to work”. You see this truck travel thousands of miles a year again now in the summer attending area farmers’ markets and wine festivals.

Last summer when coming back down I-77 from the Cleveland Garlic Festival I just heard something “not-right”. More just a feeling I had in my gut. I couldn’t find anything but a few weeks later it gave my brother some starting trouble then one day on the back from a market in Akron it just about quit. He limped it home and there it sat.

Old School simple

Old School simple

We were only running on five out of six cylinders, and figured we broke a valve. It was near the end of the season so we got by but were not looking forward to the work or expense of fixing this. So today I got after it in the shop to try and start to get a idea of what we needed to do.

Well this was a Monday and I pulled the valve cover off to find that only a push rod had come out of adjustment and slipped out of its seat….SWeeeeTt! I popped it back in, tightened it down and she ran great! Even a blind nut can find a Squirl some daz!

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.

Winter growing update, what’s coming up, down on the farm!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
The green mile?

The green mile?

New this year at the local CVCC winter farmers market will be a crop of fresh radishes.

Countryside Winter Farmers’ Market at Old Trail School
January 22; February 5 & 19; March 12 & 26; and April 9 & 23
9am until Noon
2315 Ira Road
Akron, OH 44333

If you have never had the chance to go into a greenhouse on a cold winter day, I’m sorry. It is hard to describe. It is not so much just the heat, the getting in out of the cold is the obvious part.

Indoor Radishes

Indoor Radishes

I guess it is the smell of “concentrated life” about to explode, almost a tropical buzz is around you. It’s something like sauna with rich humidity filling your senses and touching your skin but with the rich aroma of potting soil and the stark green colors you find as you enter this plastic oasis, briefly escaping the cold “Negative Photograph” world of winter on the outside.

It’s what living on a farm is all about I guess, as we try new things to adapt to what the market gives us.

Winter Work, Wordless Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Trying to “close the loop”

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
As the saying goes "like one hog waits on another"!

As the saying goes "like one hog waits on another"!

We are working at ya might say “closing the loop” as much as possible when it comes to food. Saying that is one thing doing it is another. Not only do you have to be a savy marketer, you need to be a low cost producer to win it in the long haul.

This particular group of pigs entertained thousands of folks during the fall corn maze and pumpkin picking season running for Oreo’s, but now they are back on the home farm being the “Biggers Gainers”!

NASHOG race pigs at Maize Valley

NASHOG race pigs at Maize Valley

We are trying to raise a great tasting product in an efficient and responsible way. We give these pigs lots of space, good food, and fresh air and sunshine. I hope to bale the crop in the picture about and the video below that we would normally just waste. I plan on using the sorghum/corn mix that was once a haunted corn maze for winter bedding and feed for hogs too.

Waiting on the "killing freeze"

Haunted Maze, Waiting on the "killing freeze"

In the summer time we raise 52 different crops on about 700 acres. Everyday during the growing season we have crops both harvested and left in the field that we cannot make use of that make great pig feed.

Concord grapes for jam and Red Neck Red!

Concord grapes for jam and Red Neck Red!

From Grapes to Garlic, from Swiss Chard to Sweet Corn, ya never know what is coming up down on the farm.

Garlic Festival at Shaker Sq.

Garlic Festival at Shaker Sq.

That is the efficient part, that is where you make your profit. Because “profit” is what makes a farmer, “sustainable”! Well this batch of “little piggies” has “gone to market” but we will be having more on the way fed right here on our farm where you can buy direct from this grower so give us a look! Take care.

Can’t U smell that smell????

Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Liquid storage tank

Liquid storage tank

Applicator Truck

Applicator Truck as it distributes material

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

No this isn’t “that” smell, but this smell can surround you!

One of the most important things to growing good crops is fertility managment. Plants absorb nutrients at the ionic level based apon a variety of factors. When trying to grow good crops it is very much like trying to always solve a problem to improve your production. When doing so you must first solve for your first “limiting factor” or the first thing that is holding you back just as in any given situation.

You can’t fix the big problem unless you solve the first thing that is holding you back. Think of it as a bucket (the field) with holes in it that you are trying to fill with water (crop yield = $$). You fix the holes closest to the bottom of the bucket first and work your way up the bucket all the time it holds more water.

Often times in growing crops it is not so much “how much” you have of any given nutrient that makes or breaks the production but rather the realative relationship or balance that nutrients have to each other and their environment.

For instance sandy (or light) soils do not hold nutrients as well as soils with a high concentration of organic matter or clay (often called heavier soils). Knowing this helps you manage all of the inputs you will using to help produce a crop. On the flip side those sandy soils often dry out faster in the spring and warm faster as well, but are also have a greater risk of frost damage.

So you just try and keep all these variables in mind and try and find the best balance possible given your location. But it doesn’t stop there because then you have to factor in the economic and environmental aspects as well….Wheeewww! No farming like any “profession” is not easy but nothing worth doing ever is!

Take Care.