Posts Tagged ‘Ohio farm market’

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

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.....

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? 🙂

What did I do today? I cried…

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

This post written by Bill Bakan, part of living is giving back to your community where you can. Sometimes with money, sometimes with your time, sometimes with both. We are a small family farm market and winery. This blog is about Ohio Wine but also more, it’s also about “how we roll”.

My 1st Patriot Guard Mission

My 1st Patriot Guard Mission

I am not a “joiner” I am a entrepreneur, sort of a loaner and when it comes to riding my motorcycles it has always been more about “escape” from people and the world. Just me, my ride and the road. But you see my Dad is WWII USMC soon to be 91 years on this planet and I am proud of that and wanted to find a way to show appreciation to those that stand for us. My Dad never encouraged us to go into the military he had done that and did not care to see us do it.

1st Patriot Guard Mission line up

1st Patriot Guard Mission line up

Today at the request of the family the Patriot Guard had a mission to honor a Marine that had returned home to his final resting place in Rittman Ohio. I had really no idea what I was in for. I joined the guard because I thought the protests that some groups were doing at military funerals to be disgusting. Today one came close to home and I was able to go. The guard’s duty is to provide a shield between these protests and the family if necessary. We are just to stand there with the stars and stripes just as the fallen service member had stood for us. No one came to protest, we just had to be there to honor this Marine’s service in peace, as it should be.

1st Patriot Guard Mission

1st Patriot Guard Mission

So I watched and learned and tried to not mess up, I was just one small volunteer trying to find a way to pay some sort of small honor to a Marine that had made the ultimate sacrifice and to give some comfort to his family. We waited, then stood guard, then we rode quite a long way from Brecksville Ohio to Rittman, without stopping. Along the way others stopped to let us pass at the bequest of a road guard of police officers. Many, many people stopped as we passed.

People stopped along on ramps, sidewalks, fire trucks on the overpasses and more.

We arrived at the National Cemetary in Rittman, we dismounted gathered the flags from our bikes and stood in a line along the path.

It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot with white puffy clouds against a bright blue sky and a slight breeze. It was a wonderful day to ride, but a real lousy reason.

Marines with white tops, black coats, blue pants with red strips and white belts were there too. Two Marines along the path in front of us, seven to carry the casket, seven to fire three shots each, one to call the orders, one to play taps. Hundreds of other law enforcement officers, the family, the Leatherneck nation, Rolling Thunder and more all under the sun of a stunning sky. What a beautiful day to be alive.

We stood in a line, we were not “playing” some game this was real, we were wanted there, we were asked. We were very close to the core of the purpose of the day, I was amazed. I wondered if this was how a citizen felt back in the time George Washington. I was just a man with no special reason to be there other than I felt I should do what I could to fill a hole in this line, I did so by “joining” this group.

Rittman

Rittman

I wore my vented nylon riding jacket, I did not really “fit in” amongst all the leather vests and other more traditional “Harley Davidson” style attire, I don’t ride a H-D, but I was welcome. I also wore dark sunglasses, and about half way through the ceremony I also wore tears.

And I’ll wear them again till they come home, and I can say “Welcome Home”.

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! Got Bread?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
The FunTSAR got 2 do the "Best Thing"!!