Posts Tagged ‘Homegrown’

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? 🙂

From the Fields to the Table!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Lunch Time!

Lunch time!


Lunch time for everyone! Hey everyone it’s Cara, I could have just made something out of the freezer but why do that when we have fresh produce from grandpa right out the back door!
So how did I do it? Well, the sweet corn was cooked in the oven! Yup, throw it in there husk and all! At about 350, let it cook for 35 to 40 minutes. It is the BEST and ONLY way to cook your sweet corn. However, be careful when it comes out, it’s going to be much hotter than you think, but the little silks come right off!
The potatoes were very easy as well, just cut them up! And then I threw in some shallots, green peppers, and yellow summer squash, then I added some olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper! Just let them cook untill they’re nice and brown.
It’s such a simple meal! And it’s made with all the fresh produce that Grandpa grows! Try it and enjoy!

Takin what life throws at me Part 4

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Takin what life throws at me is part of Ohio Wine and More Because this family farm, market and winery has two breast cancer survivors amongts its owners. Donna Vaughan and her daughter Michelle Bakan, these posts are by Michelle’s husband Bill.

Bill on "Snarles"

Bill on "Snarles"

Life truly is a journey. How you get through this journey, much like any other trip you take, depends on the roads you choose and the things you encounter along the way. Some roads get you there fast, some not so fast. Some of the people and places you meet and visit are good, others maybe not so much. But “fast and or good” at least on the surface may look like the best route, can also deprive you of some really interesting experiences along the way. Some force you to look at and deal with things you don’t see in the “fast lane”.

My Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure "mates"

My Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure "mates"

Now don’t get me wrong, given the choice of not hearing those words over the phone from my wife Michelle “I have cancer” would have been my prefered choice. But after you hear them you have to say, “ok, what’s next?” And begin your journey down a path you would not have choosen to take. That path led us to the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure. This is a 60 mile 3 day experience that requires fund raising but is really about so much more.

Little Pink houses 4 U n me!

Little Pink houses 4 U n me!

2011 in Cleveland found Michelle walking with her brother in law Tim Bakan and Bill on Saftey Crew. If you are going to walk 60 miles in three days you MUST train or your body won’t do it. Trust me I know, I’ve seen it. SGK takes care of you if you can’t, but if you want to walk every step you need to prepare. And if you are a runner or “in good shape’ and think that will work, it might, but don’t necessarily count on it. It’s mostly about Feet. Feet, feet, feet, how many, many feet you meet. They need to be prepared, they need to have walked.

Aid station and pit stop

Aid station and pit stop

How do I know? As a member of the Safety Crew I had the priviledge of helping and seeing just about each and every one of the 950 walkers. We are different that most of the other 330 crew members in that respect, in that we see just about everybody sooner or later often multiple times. Each crew member and every they do job is important, we just got the “glory” job. Over three days you make friends, see struggles, and watch victories unfold.

"Crossing guards"

"Crossing guards"

We would leave out about a half hour before the first walker hits the road at about 6:30am, then we as a group escourted the last walker in the gate about 13 hours later. Our job is to keep them safe, but also so much more.

The long pink line

The long pink line

Over the next few blog posts I’ll lay out how these three days unfolded for me. Because you often hear about the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the cure but until you have lived it or had a very in depth explaination of what it is, you cannont begin to understand it. It starts with a promise, because everyone deserves a lifetime.

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

“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

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.