Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Proud’

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, if it going to snow it might as well be pretty!

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
Long view of the Reisling

Long view of the Reisling

Waiting for spring

Waiting for spring

Pretty Cool

Pretty Cool

Our old barn

Our old barn

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

Boy winter started early, like I think it was somewhere around last June? Anyhow we are seeing some signs of spring here or there. Days getting longer, still daylight at 6:30 Wow! Our vines so far so good. Despite all the snow and cold it really has not been as extreme as it was last winter.

Last winter we had significant die back due to temp in the sub zero teens for an extended period. We did not have that this. The trick will still be to get past that late frost in May however. You can look back on last years posts for that disaster. But that is what we roll with here on the farm.

We are planting more grapes this spring, doing new crops in the greenhouse and some other unique things will be coming up in the field too! Look for us at area farmers’ markets and of course at the main market and winery with tons of new special events and cool tried and true trusted ones as well.

Here are a couple of videos one of the vineyard itself and one of the drive out to the vineyard in my pickup hope you enjoy.

Remember at Maize Valley We Make Great Wine…FUN!!

Vintner’s Dinners at Maize Valley, New wines, New food, New friends

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
1st Vintner's Dinner Jan

Welcome Guests

Your seat awaits!

Your seat awaits you!

Never sit with strangers, but leave as friends

Never sit with strangers, but leave as friends

Wines paired with the dinner are boxed and ready to go!

Wines paired with the dinner are boxed and ready to go!

January 21 saw the first of our Vintner’s dinners at Maize Valley for 2010. They are reservation only dinners limited to 40 persons held on the third Thursday of every month. The menu and recipie for each dinner can be found by visiting our website. Reservations can be made by calling or e-mailing us in either case be sure to get a confirmation.

New wines, new food, new friends is how we like to put it for this event series. Our focus is on introducing guests to new wines and pair them with foods we feel are complementary. We hope our guests also meet new friends and enjoy learning more about food and wine along the way.

We try to feature items on the menu we either grow or source as local as possible while still maintaining high standard of quality. During the evening we explain a little about the pairings as well as some of the history surrounding our winery and family farm. Sometimes we just talk about the food other times we might even tell a story about how the Vaughan family has made a living with the land here in Marlboro township since the 1800’s. They have been school teachers, leather tanners, and farmers, you never know what might come to mind.

So please stop on by sometime, sit a spell, but no don’t take your shoes off, this is just a bit higher end than that!

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.

Corn Maze Update and how we do it too.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
First pic of maze one week after cutting

First pic of maze one week after cutting

View of Corn Maze Paths after Roto-tilling

View of Corn Maze Paths after Roto-tilling

View of Corn Maze Paths before Roto-tilling

View of Corn Maze Paths before Roto-tilling

In an ongoing attempt to let people know what and how we do things at Maize Valley I keep letting out a little bit of info here and there about how it is we keep making Great Wine…FUN!

You can do corn maze a bunch of different ways but what I am showing is just how we roll. This year will be our tenth corn maze and the system we use works for us, it may not for you but such is the case in many things agritourism.

Like making wine you cannot make just what you like, such is also the case in a corn maze. People come out to buy some of our fresh produce, maybe drink some award winning wine, but in the fall especially to have fun. The maze helps folks do that. So we cannot create something that just makes people nuts but rather is an enjoyable experience while on the farm.

So part of that is first a foremost safety. That is why I roto-till the paths so it reduces the chance anyone can fall and if they do so they don’t land on something that could injure them. I know it will happen but I try my best to see that it doesn’t. We try and get the paths like road before we open so a stroller or power chair can go through weather permitting.

So check out how we roto-till our corn maze paths and see some of what goes into your admission price too. And remember if you do come STAY ON THE PATHS OR WE WILL ASK YOU TO LEAVE, for the pleasure of all guests that come after you.

At Maize Valley, We Make Great Wine…FUN!!

Vines, Wines, and Pines 5K Went AWESOME!! #Agritourism, #Farm

Friday, July 17th, 2009
Great food from Subway, and cool awards from Maize Valley

Great food from Subway, and cool awards from Maize Valley

On your mark!

On your mark!

It's not like your getting married or anything...Uh maybe it is??

It's not like your getting married or anything...Uh maybe it is??

What an awesome day! Our Third 5K race went off without a hitch and to the raves of the participants. It is really ALL about them anyway because without runners….we don’t have a race! Thanks to Cope Equipment for providing the Gator to lead the race, and Terry, Sally and crew of R&S racing who time the race and make it all go sssoooooo smooth!

The entire race takes place on our property and our next door neighbors, Moore Christmas Tree Farm thanks to them too!

Part of what we are working at is branding Maize Valley as “Destination Health” if ya get my drift. You see we grow all these healthy veggies, sell all this good for you locally grown food, have all this open space to exercise in I mean hey, how could you not get healthier hangin’ with us?

As part of creating a first class agritourism destination we had mostly been focused on the “Fall Season” with pumpkins, corn mazes, wagon rides etc. But you see I maintain all the trails and fields all year long just because we like to keep things looking neat.

Well I got to thinking why don’t we have more events and get more use out of the grounds? So we have events more often now and we are even working at developing walking trails in partnership with local health care businesses to promote an over all healthy lifestyle that is FUN and rewarding.

Come join us for the “Stomp The Grapes” half marathon on October 3rd if you are ready for the challenge!!

And if ya just want to have fun….get married!! We had a bridal party run in the race, come back for the shower, then regroup and close the place down too!!

At Maize Valley, We Make Great Wine…FUN!!!

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.