Posts Tagged ‘Local Produce’

We Make Great Wine…FUN!!

Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Tractor broke!

Tractor broke!

Haunted Maze path

Haunted Maze path

View from the seat of our John Deere 1020

View from the seat of our John Deere 1020

Well I say it many times yes this blog is called Ohio Wine and More. You might say we R a winery with ADHD most of the time. You see we came from the agricultural world of dairy cattle, grain farming and vegtable production then direct farm marketing and agritourism. Maize Valley has evolved over the years to meet emerging opportunities the best we can.

So what has that got to do with wine you ask? Well we do have fun here. We say there are many places you can go and have a very nice time, but come to Maize Valley when you want to have fun. Last year our dry red blend won Double concordance gold at the Ohio Wine competition. This spring our Red Raspberry made from our own home grown Red Raspberries did the same at the Finger Lakes Wine Comp. Plus dozens of other medals from other respected shows and competitions. But we don’t take that too seriously or ourselves.

You can always go back and buy more wine, you can’t go back and make more time. So we do things still like haunted corn mazes pumpkin cannons, pig races and more. We make a great product but serve it with a flash. So come and see why Maize Valley is the place to be. If you don’t care for the stuff mentioned above that’s cool just chill with great food or wine in the market and cafe’, It’s all good!

See below how we start the prep for this years haunted corn maze adventure. Come and see why Maize Valley IS the place to BE!

Bringing a farm to a plate near you!

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Raised Beds plastic after hole is punched and plant inserted

Raised Beds plastic after hole is punched and plant inserted

One row of about 50 acres

One row of about 50 acres

My father in law Kay running the John Deere 6400

My father in law Kay running the John Deere 6400

Part of growing all the quality produce we do on the farm at Maize Valley is preparing a good solid foundation for our crops to grow in. Part of that involves what are called raised irrigated beds. We grow about 200 acres of “fresh market produce”. Of that about 50-60 acres is grown using this method. We still farm about a total of 700 acres including hay, soybeans, pumpkins, sweet corn and more.

That is what sets Maize Valley apart I guess as far as a retailer in this day and age. I guess we take pride in being the real deal in all aspects we can. The man on the tractor in the video is Kay my father in law. His family has farmed here since the 1800’s and today we are still trying to raise products and market them to stay current and of value to today’s consumers.

We don’t just haul something in repackage it and put it out we try and craft something from raw materials and add value as we do. In the process we employee people, like Galen who is in the video who has worked with us for over 20 years. We break stuff, buy parts, pay taxes, build things and just try and make it through to the next generation.

We appreciate you stopping by and visiting with us here. But we hope we gave you enough reason to stop by the farm market and winery and even spend some more time with us.

Take care!

Vineyard views springtime! Cabbage and Garlic too?? Whattt?

Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Cabbage lookin' pretty good!

Cabbage lookin' pretty good!

Garlic coming up in rows!

Garlic coming up in rows!

Springtime vines

Springtime vines

It has been a pretty warm and dry spring so far. You never know if that is a good thing or not. It is great to get out and get some work done early but also if it get too warm too early bad things can happen too. Such as an early bud break in the vineyard that leads to all sorts of problems. Last year we got frozen in late May and that pretty much killed the grape harvest for the year.

We have lots on tap this year in the way of locally produced vegtables, fruit, wine and good times at Maize Valley so keep in touch, and come and see why Maize Valley IS the place to BE!

Maize Valley reloading for 2010 from Tastings to Tomatoes we got it going on!

Monday, March 29th, 2010
Early Tomatoes

Getting a early start in the Greenhouse!

Overhead view of Mater!

Overhead view of Mater!

Everyday and Wine Trail Tastings too!

Everyday wine tastings and Wine Trail events too!

Weddings at our "Ballroom"

From weddings at the “Ballroom” to raising greenhouse crops, and winter farmers’ markets and a record setting year in the winery tasting room and cafe’ It has been a busy winter! My father in law Kay is gearing up for a HUGE season at the farmers’ market where it looks like at least nine markets a week for us. Wine tastings from Geneva to Dayton to Sandusky and more will keep us occupied too. Plus all the great special events from years past plus a few more are on the horizon as well. You need to stop out and see why we say “Maize Valley IS the placet To BE!

I have been busy working our face book and twitter pages too so this blog sort of got the “hind tit” approach as they say in the world of raisin’ Hogs! But all in all it has been a good winter too. Not too terrible cold with lots of snow cover really helped the grapes and they are looking fine. Now we just have to get through the rest of the spring and past any late frosts in May and we will be sitting pretty.

The video below is just one small snapshot of what is coming this summer at Maize Valley. Thanks for stopping by!

New crops and ideas growing at Maize Valley

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
A little clove all tucked in for a long winters nap

A little clove all tucked in for a long winters nap

Planting garlic

Planting garlic

I have to say one thing about my father-in-law Kay, when get tries something he tries it big. Almost a quarter acre of garlic, REALLY! Well at least we will have a “Vampire free zone”or is that Werwolf Free ?! I remember when we row covered almost 8 acres of melons years ago for our first go around with melons, whoops! Worked good till the wind blew it off and we had kites the size of football fields.

Anyhow the point is we are not afraid to try new things at Maize Valley. I got Kay started more on these crops a few years ago when I asked him “do you want to try some farmers'” markets and he said yes. Well we needed to learn to grow a whole new mix of crops to adapt and succeed at direct markets.

New crops, smaller plantings, wider varities all came into play as we moved forward in this are and the garlic is just one example. Stop in our farm market and winery next year, we are going to have PLENTY of garlic!

I wonder how a garlic wine would taste?????

Winter #farmers’market,#ag,#farm, Selling strong at the Cuyahoga Valley!

Monday, January 18th, 2010
Walk in to the farmers' market

Walk in to the farmers' market

Under the road and to trail center to the farmers' market we go....

Under the road and to trail center to the farmers' market we go....

Approach to the Happy Days Trail Center

Approach to the Happy Days Trail Center

Tim and Brett selling the goods!

Tim and Brett selling the goods!

Lots of vendors to choose from

Lots of vendors to choose from

If you look at the last Maize Valley Ohio Wine and More blog post you could see the process that we use to grow some crops in the winter time in Ohio. Now don’t get me wrong I have no illusion we are making any money yet at this venture. This is still in the research and development phase, but you have to start somewhere!

We are learning experimenting trying new things that is what entrepreneurs do, it is in our blood! We have learned a great deal already and it is allowing us to make some future investment decisions based upon data collected. This is all we do, no off farm jobs, no retirement income, no gov’t support we run very tight and hard.

We are just practical producers trying to make a living with the land in a responsible manner that sustains our families and provides for future generations. My wifes family has been here since the late 1800’s and I don’t want to mess that up! So with my father-in-laws support we started trying farmers’ markets again a few years ago and this is the latest chapter in that journey.

If you take the time to look through past blog posts here in this Ohio Wine and More blog you will see it is quite a journey!

Thanks to Beth Knorr and Darwin Kelsey who are the main contacts we have the CVCC for their efforts in starting and helping to develop the farmers’ market.

Here are some pictures and videos showing last Saturdays market organized by the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservacy. It is held in the park at the Happy Days Trail center. There are links to learn more via the pictures above just hover and click.

Winter Farmers’ Market crop progress update, #farm,#ag,#Buy, #local,

Friday, January 15th, 2010
Todd and Samantha cutting spinich

Todd and Samantha cutting spinich

Tim Bagging up Fresh Cut Spinich

Tim Bagging up Fresh Cut Spinich

The Ohio Wine and More Blog is as the title says, more! Part of our winery is also a strong agricultural heritage. But that heritage is an evolving one. Maize Valley was once a “Conventional Commercial Dairy and Cash Grain” family farm enterprise. Maize Valley is now a diversified direct to consumer and wholesaler producer of of a wide variety of fresh market vegtables, as well as a new up and coming line of peppers, salsas, sauses and of course award winning wines.

In 2009 we attended 7 weekly farmers’ markets in the growing and harvest season. This winter we have expanded to attending one winter market to test the waters and see how that works. I do not mean to imply that we are experts at any of this. We are just one family farm trying new things to adapt to a changing marketplace

This years attempt at raising spinich and lettuce in the greenhouse is far from perfect. A “greenhouse” is not the idea enviornment for this type of production but before we invested a lot we wanted to give it a try with resources and infrastructure we already had. To do this sort of production a “High Tunnel” type of cover would be better suited. This might be in the future for us if we see a market emerge to sell product in what was traditionally a off season.

Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again with more posts from The Ohio Wine and More blog. Come and see why Maize Valley IS the Place to BE!

Going Green when it’s snowy white out! New Vintners Dinners at Maize Valley. #farm,#ohiowine, #agritourism, #buylocal

Monday, December 28th, 2009
Spinich at Maize Valley in December

Spinich at Maize Valley in December

Todd looking at progress of winter greenhouse crops

Todd looking at progress of winter greenhouse crops

There is ALWAYS something Happening at Maize Valley! I understand the economy presents some unique challenges now, but I refuse to think that you can do nothing about it. It just forces you to try new things, think harder, work smarter, get better, get out of your comfort zone, move ahead.

That is what made our country great not “gov’t stimulus” or “Nebraska style” change, it is entrepreneurs getting out taking risks with the hope of reward. That lasts long after the handout is gone! Sorry about the “soapbox” there!

Winter time is always a tough time for business especially wineries but new this year at Maize Valley will be our Thursday evening “Vintners Dinners”. A chance for people to come out and learn a little bit more about wine, understand better how it complements different foods, and enjoy the company of others as you travel on this path together.

One unique thing about our Vintners dinners is that even in the winter months some of the entree’ will be grown by us! Right now just for starters it is going to be the salad and wine produced by us will be paired with it. Different dinners will have different themes and pairings.

The dinners will be the third Thursday of the month with limited reserved seating. Move your curser over the pics above and “click”, it will magically take you to a Maize Valley web page with details such as price, dates, menu etc.

Thanks for stopping by….

#Farmers’ Markets, #Greenhouses, New frontiers old needs

Monday, December 14th, 2009
Greenhouse sporting a new plastic cover

Greenhouse sporting a new plastic cover

Well here we go again, we are trying something NEW at Maize Valley once again, what is old is now new again. As we constantly search for new ways to make our business relevant and of value to our guests and customers I try and look at life from more than “both sides now”. That is just not enough, you need to look at it “Three Dimensionally” if you will. Pick it up, turn it over and see how it smells that will tell you a lot!

The greenhouses are getting new plastic because after about three years they don’t let in the full light spectrum for optimal plant growth. So we have to get up there and put new plastic on to optimize the sunlight coming in and give the plants their best shot at a productive life. This particular house will be used for early tomato production. My father in law has another house at the home farm growing spinach and lettuce for the winter farmers’ markets and dinners in the winery. Starting next week you will be able to order our weekend dinner special in our winery with carrots fresh dug from the farm and a salad with our own fresh grown greens, IN OHIO in December!

What is new is how we are working at selling the products. Winter farmers’ markets, dinners in the winery crops grown in the cold months being marketed outside of traditional seasons. Stay tuned for more updates of things coming up down on the farm.

My wife Michelle shot the videos because I actually had to do some work this time! That’s me in the grey vest and black hat, Todd and Galen are up helping too.

Maize Valley @ #Farmers’ Market

Friday, August 14th, 2009
View of the parking lot

View of the parking lot

Set up takes about 15 min.

Set up takes about 15 min.

Farmer Bill the "FunTSAR" in front of his 52' Ford

Well here we go again in 2009 for another season at local farmers’ markets. Let me first start off with a disclamer that goes something like…. I do not claim to be any sort of expert at selling at farmers’ markets. What I do have going on is my father-in-law grows awesome quality produce and I do know how to merchandise product. Basically with produce the saying goes, “Pile it High and Watch if Fly”.

We attend farmers’ markets for two reasons to promote our home farm market, winery and agritourism enterprises and second to sell some produce. Farmers’ markets are a great deal of work for the return compared to a stationary market or stand. But they do fulfill a roll and area piece of our marketing plan.

A huge side benifit is my daughters go and participate in the retailing of our products. It gives them first hand knowledge of what it takes to be a good salesperson. They earn some income and learn more than most kids do these days. I feel it will give them a competitive edge in life, no matter what they choose to do.

We have outfitted a couple of old Ford trucks as seen in the pictures especially for the purpose of attending the markets. The biggest reason is due to the diversity and size of our business a family member cannont always get to every market. We needed trucks set up to minimize the labor required and improve product quality while on the truck. The less you handle a product the better.

We use the trucks for wine pours, and mobile concession stands at our home location as well. They help provide brand identity. I do not believe that true success at a farmers’ should depend upon the grower himself attending. In order for a business to be successful in should be system based and not be dependent upon specific persons to fill necessary roles.

So whatever the case please shop as local as you can when it is competitive and enjoy! Here are a few vids of us on our journey into Canton one Saturday morning.