Posts Tagged ‘Ohio farm market’

Corn Maze Update, “It’s in the Field”!

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Carving the "Circle MV"
Fresh Cut Pathway

Fresh Cut Pathway

Corn Maze Paths just after cutting

Corn Maze Paths just after cutting

Getting started cutting the corn maze

Getting started cutting the corn maze

This is our Tenth Anniversary Corn Maze, wow has it been that long??!! Well we are getting started and combining the maze with our new Civil War Re-enactment set to go on August 15th and 16th. Corn looks kinda short we will see, just not enough sun and heat so far. If we don’t make Aug. it will be Labor Day Weekend.

I have been getting several inquiries as to how we do our mazes and why we do things certain ways. Keep in mind this agritourism thing is a process of evolution. Not all things work at all locations. You can learn by seeing what others do and then trying certain aspects on your own place. But most of all keep asking questions. I don’t think “outside the box”, I crawl up on top of it, pick it up, & turn it over. I look at agritourism from all sides now!

We hire Rob Stoffer with Precision Mazes to handle the cut and Hugh McPherson of Maize Quest for the design and activity content. We have done it all in-house over the years but we just have too much going on now and have created such an expectation of excellence with our guests that it is now time to rely on the professionals. My brain just ain’t big enough to get it all done anymore, I don’t know if it ever was, I think I was just lucky. We have done NASCAR/NAPA, Bridgestone/Bigfoot, Formula One Racing and more. It has been a fun ride and a great way to make money while bringing such fun to families!

Keep in touch as we install the games, trivia, and all the other stuff that makes a Maize Valley an Adventure, not just a walk in a corn field. Check out the links under “Agritourism” to learn more about the great partners we have!

Baleing Hay, and breakdowns, Now I remember why I like farming so much!

Monday, July 13th, 2009
Lookin' in the sideview mirror

Lookin' in the sideview mirror

Raking ahead of the baler

Raking ahead of the baler

Main Drive Shaft...Now we have Two Oh Boy!

Main Drive Shaft...Now we have Two Oh Boy!

Breakdown and shop time

Breakdown and shop time

Phillips Machine, saves the day

Phillips Machine, saves the day

Making Hay while the sun shines

Making Hay while the sun shines

On our farm we as a family help each other out. My father in law Kay has helped make much of what has become Maize Valley Market and Winery possible. This past week he needed help baleing hay so I chipped in. I thought I was just going to be towing wagons. I spend most of my time at the market and winery and marketing etc.

I was there about an hour till we had a major breakdown. Just like back in the day I thought. This happens a lot especially when you use your equipment hard. We maintain the heck out of it but it still happens. I suppose if farm folks read and watch this stuff you just have to laugh. But we are just putting this blog up for ALL to see and learn so I am not trying to come across like something special, just report on what goes on down on our farm.

I guess it was a good thing I was there as I was able to help out in the repair, via cell phone and google searches from my blackberry in the field I discovered the shaft that broke was a day away and almost $200.00. The cool thing was we were able to tap into our local machine shop and find the same part for about $30.00 and I was able to run over and get it and we were back in business about four hours later. That is a cool part about living near in an area that was once a very heavy steel production center. I love buying steel “buy the pound” vs. covered in green paint!

I don’t know if you have ever “timed” a baler before but I learned how this day, I also used a whole bunch of my vocabulary skills too! After a while I threw the book away and just figured it out. If you ever have to time a John Deere Baler, start with the book then throw it away and use your head.

Last year Kay and crew made about 48,000 little square bales, this year looks like they might close in on 60,000 if the weather cooperates. We got these field done and got about 12,000 bales off of about 45 acres.

Now next week start second cutting, farmers markets, wine pours, vegi harvest, you know life!

Crop Progess, Vineyard Update, Raspberries TOO!

Saturday, July 11th, 2009
Todd in Air Blast Sprayer

Todd in Air Blast Sprayer

Pumpkins starting to form

Pumpkins starting to form

Baby Rasperries

Baby Rasperries

Raspberry Patch

Raspberry Patch

WoW is stuff growing fast now, from Raspberries to pumpkins to corn we got it going on here are a few pics and video of what growing up down on the farm at Maize Valley.

Bottling wine Today & Buying “Local”

Friday, May 8th, 2009
Grapes

Grapes

We are just a little winery in the scope of the big dogs but the winery does help to make us more of a “Muscular” Agri-Tourism destnation. Ohio wine and more is just the story of a family farm, farm market and now winery “keeping it real” down on the farm.

On Wednesday my brother-in-law Todd assembled the crew and we put some wine in a bottle. Some of the wine they are bottling today is the first actual full run of our estate grown fruit from the summer of 08′. As I have mentioned we take a very broad look at our agricultural business. From growing peppers, melons, sweet corn and more to operating corn mazes and now producing and direct selling wine also. We farm about 700 acres still, down from about 3,000 8 years ago. It is plenty to keep us busy as you can see by the diversity of my posts.

When it comes to the wine part we first have the customer in mind. We produce what we perceive they desire. We measure that desire by what they like to buy. We are an Ohio winery that grows its own fruit, buys some Ohio local fruit and or sources the right fruit for the right wine where ever we find the best raw materials. There is no point in making a class of products that do not meet our guests expectations only to say that we grow it ourselves or sourced the inputs local. That is why we do not grow hardly any red grapes to be made into traditional Big Bold Dry Red wines. You are just at a competitive disadvantage when entering the marketplace. With limited resources we have to be careful where we chose to compete. So that is how we make variety selections when choosing what to grow or what to try and source local.

We buy local Elk meat from a local grower, local eggs from a man up the street, and we are soon to get in local goat cheese from a lady up in Ravenna. In addition to that we grow way too many veggies most years too, and many of our other packaged products are Ohio Proud partners. We hope to pair these products with our wine selections we produce and vertically integrate that into on site food sales in our cafe’. In order for us to remain competitive and have the largest positive economic footprint we can on our community we try a juggle a wide range of products and services for our guests.

I guess all I am saying is please buy local where it makes sense and your producer is trying to produce the best product possible to fit the need you have. Don’t buy local just because it is just “Local”. It’s about the competition, it makes us all better. Buy local from the vendor that uses it to balance their approach to the marketplace in such a way that they help to “bridge the gaps” that have the greatest impact on their community. Buy local from the marketer that has a vision and goals large enough to produce enough economic activity that they can sponsor the local kids’ sports team, can buy at the 4-H sale at the county fair, or have the ability to endow a college scholarship at the hometown high school.

Ohio Farm Market and Winery a quick look

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

As I have said the blog is Ohio Wine and MORE ! We are much more than a winery, just as enjoying wine or any beverage is much more than the product itself, but rather the people you share it with and the memories you build with them.

Let’s face it for all the fuss about “Big Bold Reds” etc. if you really want an alcoholic beverage with “body” search out and find a good Dark Beer! But that is just my call on that one. Wine by nature is just more delicate and suited for a different role in persons lives. And isn’t that what it is really all about, people? Yes you have to have a quality product but I like to always say you can always go back and buy more wine but you can’t go back and make more time.

I have been talking a great deal about what we “Do” in the spring time around the farm but have not mentioned our market where we sell most of it. The other day I shot a walk through video of our retail farm market, and tasting room. My camera is not the greatest when it comes to lighting so don’t think this is going to be showing up at the Sundance Film Fest. or anything.

Take Care and Hakuna Matata!!