Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable Agriculture.’

Wagon Rides, Pumpkins and so much more! :-)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

This post is written by Bill Bakan, “Farmer Bill” the Fun TSAR at Maize Valley

Green Pumpkins!!

Green Pumpkins!!

Welcome to our pumpkin patch!! At Maize Valley we make a pretty decent claim at being Ohio’s most complete fall harvest destination. No we don’t have everything that everyone may have at other pumpkin patches or corn mazes but we have a pretty “complete mix”.

We are a diversified family farm that offers a monthly 5 course china plated, guided paired wine tasting dinner series called “Vintner Dinners” as well as wagon rides to the pumpkin patch for school groups and the general public.

Bridging the gap bewteen what could be seen as two completly seperate worlds is a whole host of other menu and activity options designed to take our guests through all the seasons and “Vintages” if you will, of their life.

"White" pumpkins early growth

"White" pumpkins early growth

Coming up is the fall harvest season, the end of a long year of work and joy. About 12 years ago I stepped into a corn field and killed the corn and thereby carving a design into the field in the shape of the Goodyear Blimp creating our first corn maze. There was no looking back but we did not stop there either.

Coming up this late summer and fall we have balloons lifting off, clam bakes, Pig races, coorporate group outings, car crushing metal dinasaours, a life flight helicopter landing, Motorcycle rally’s, car cruises, garlic festival and wine pours. The list is pretty extensive, It is just how we roll.

Farming about 700 acres and approx. 40-50 different crops helps to keep us “real” but at the same time keeps us flexible and diversified enough to not only survive but continue to grow over the past few years.

It hasn’t been easy, but nothing worth having ever is! 🙂

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”.

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.

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

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.