Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable Agriculture.’

Wordless Wednesday, Got ARK?

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
Sweet Corn Fields

Sweet Corn Fields

The house my wife’s Grandfather was born in and a Red Neck Sauna

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Country Roads

Country Roads

Back in the day when my wife of now over 25 years and I were first married a couple of years after we were married we had the opportuntity to purchase the house her grandfather was born in. Nobody knows how old it is as his parents were not the first to live there.

Our home

Our home

You see he died over 15 years ago now and was in his late 80’s, this is an old house. For indoor plumbing it had a kitchen sink downstairs and upstairs a commode and a sink. The shower was in the block building about 50 feet out behind the house. If you look in the picture above it is slightly to right of center of the pic. The building was built for when they drilled the well and built a cinder block building above and around it. It had a sink and a shower

The farm has a “gas allotment”, meaning there are natural gas wells and we get a certain amount of gas for “free”. It’s a good thing too because when we moved in the house it has ZERO insulation. But the block house had one awesome little natural gas heater. You could turn it up to about 90 degrees in there if you wanted and make our own little redneck sauna. We were young just barely out of college then and it was sort of fun I guess, it was real. It was real warm till you had to make the dash back to the house on a cold winter night after coming home from the dairy barn that is.

They say “you don’t own an old house…It owns you”!

Someday I suppose I might tell this story to someone’s grand children too, I suppose…

But the wash house was still warmer than the barn!

But the wash house was still warmer than the barn!

Wordless Wednesday: Doin’ it “Winery Style” @ Maize Valley

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Better than Sex

Better than Sex

Wine, Food and more, what we R busy with at Maize Valley

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
Making rasied beds in the new greenhouse

Making rasied beds in the new greenhouse

Getting ready to put some of the early tomatoes in the soil.

Equipment usually only found out in the field in the greenhouse

Equipment usually only found out in the field in the greenhouse

I won’t write too much here as the video at the end of this post really shows how this machine works. So if you catch this blog on face book the face book notes feature usually cuts off the You Tube video, be sure and follow up and go to www.ohiowineandmore to see the entire blog post.

Long view of the raised bed

Long view of the raised bed

The crops grown in this greenhouse and our others get sold at area farmers’ markets, thru a local modified CSA group up in Cleveland, at our farm market and in some of the meals we serve in our winery cafe’ and market.

J.D. 2630 with plastic mulch bedder

J.D. 2630 with plastic mulch bedder

At Maize Valley we are many things. My wife family have made a living with the land here in Marlboro township since the 1800’s. We grow about 52 different crops on about 700 acres we are a small farm anymore. But we think it is our diversity that keeps us in the game and keeps us strong. From Corn Mazes to Cabernet, from Garlic to Greenbeans, 1/2 marathons to Merlot, come and see why Maize Valley IS the Place To BE! 🙂

Wordless Wednesday, Dammit!!

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
The Morton Building

The Morton Building

Ok, so the "warm-up" is good?

Snow

Tough Truck

Tough Truck, that was a lot of snow.

Takin’ what life throws at me part 3, Let’s get this party started

Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Pre-opening ceremonies

Pre-opening ceremonies

Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery will be sending a team to the Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk for the cure in Cleveland Ohio in 2011. This is part 3 of the story of how this family farm business came to “adopt” this as “official cause”. Both from a personal standpoint but also from an event and business perspetive how we try and raise awereness and funds. That’s why it is part of the Ohio wine and more blog, this part of the “more”.

Now that is a real bad cliche’! We often say when we lose someone to breast cancer something like, she “lost her battle” with breast cancer. What the f**k does that mean? A battle is a subset of a war are those men and women who get breast cancer warriors? Well you’re not till it punches you in the gut as it did us.

At least for us, even when it came very close to us we had sympathy for those affected but sort of covered our ears and went “Laaa, Laaa, Laaa, Laaa” when the discussion really tried to get “focused”. You don’t really take up arms and Lock n Load till it takes a shot at you, then baby, “it’s on”.

Who's da bad ass?

Who's da bad ass?

Gonna “Rewind” now a bit from dropping Chelle off day of the walk to one of “My Darkest Days”, and I ain’t talkin’ about the band from Canada either! You see in order for you to understand why I began to understand why the SGK walk was important enough to tell others, I need to tell you how breast cancer has reached into our lives beyond my wife Chelle.

When I heard “those words” on the dock I was dropped to my knees, a blackness shadowed over me, I felt powerless to help “my girl”. Maybe I overreacted? I am a data guy I needed data what did this mean? All of a sudden I was in a fog, my reference points unknowable, my objectives and options unclear.

Tim Mary Ellen and Anne

Mary Ellen Cole Bakan

Overreacted? I did not know, THAT was the problem! The fog, the blackness of my heart and soul was maybe a result of the “war” I was sucked into. My sight was obstructed. I feared this battle, you see this was not the first time I saw a one. Pictured above is not just a tractor and a wagon but my Brother Tim returning from the pumpkin patch with a load of guests, pumpkins and memories.

Sitting on the wagon was his wife Mary Ellen Cole Bakan with their daughter Anne. A daughter they were not even supposed to even be able to have, today the biggest living memory we have of Mary Ellen.

Orange, my favorite color!

Orange, my favorite color!

Mary Ellen was our un-official “pumpkin lady”, nobody out of ignorance nor mallace ever left our pumpkin patch without paying for the time, labor and toil it took to raise the crop. With a smile and comforting tone as big and beautiful as the blazing color of the fall folliage around you, that only a 4th grade teacher could deliver, she could walk up to anybody and be sure she did her part to help keep this farm “sustainable”.

The change of season brings certain well “certainties” if you will. Just as those colorful fall leaves decay to give us aromas we only ascribe to fall, or that the models on the L.L. Bean cataloge are having a great time! I was certain EVERYONE leaving the pumpkin patch had PAID for their pumpkin!

Tim and Mary Ellen “worked” for FREE for us on the weekends, I’d pay a King’s ransom if I could to bring her back for my brother. They had our back, I’ve done the best I could the almost past three years to have Tim’s. I feared that someone would have to have mine. That’s how this party got started for us. More to come.

Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery will be fielding a team for the 2011 Susan G. Komen 3 Day walk. If you would like to join us please get in touch. Because everyone deserves a lifetime!

What’s comin’ Up down on the Farm in January at Maize Valley??

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
View from outside of the Greenhouse

View from outside of the Greenhouse

Ohh, Ohh, Pick me!

Ohh, Ohh, Pick me!

Plow snow in the morning pick a greenbean in the afternoon?

Plow snow in the morning pick a greenbean in the afternoon?

One thing you may have seen if you watch this blog and You Tube etc. is we are always trying something new at Maize Valley. I have to give credit to my father-in-law Kay. In his 70’s not retiring and always up for a new challenge. As we try to diversify he is experimenting with not only growing some different crops in the greenhouses, but even how we grow some “old ones”. We go to a winter farmers’ market that actually does as well in the winter or better than many of our summer ones!

Greenbeans, just "Hangin' out"

These beans are grown in hanging baskets just like you would flowers. We use a potting soil and all natural fertilizers. You can’t call them “organic” because we are not “certified” but we don’t use any snythetic fertilizers or chemicals either. We are more of a “Sustainable” farm business, that is we try and “sustain” ourselves to be around to do it again next year!

Fresh, Homegrown, Green beans in January!

Fresh, Homegrown, Green beans in January!

WoW look at all those wine bottles behind Chelle in the backround!! When you own a winery it is important that you constantly do product quality control testing! What wine goes best with greenbeans??? Well depends how you prepare them, lightly heated with touch of butter in a pan as Chelle did a nice light off dry white goes well.

Maize Valley is Re-Loading for 2011!

Friday, January 7th, 2011
Stomp the Grapes 2010

Stomp the Grapes 2010

Cruise In July 22nd 2010

Cruise In July 22nd 2010

Pink Poker Run 2010

Pink Poker Run 2010

Cane Burning Par-Tay

Cane Burning Par-Tay

Hartville Radishes from Maize Valley Farms

Hartville Radishes from Maize Valley Farms

2010 was a great year at Maize Valley Farm Market and Winery, thank you! We really mean that. We are a family farm business that has been making a living with the soil since the 1800’s. Throughout all those year’s my wife’s family the Vaughan’s have been leather tanners, school teachers, carpenters, and all along farmers. You see you just did what you had to do to survive. As Dorie says in finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

We grow about 52 different crops on about 700 acres but the most important crop is fun! Fun = memories and we try and build special events that cement those memories and last a lifetime. Our event calendar is loading up for 2011. We are working on making new events and adding and improving old ones too.

Look for our Vines, Wines, and Pines, cross country race to expand to include a “Farmathlon”, yea it’s gonna be cool! We are working on the half marathon and with any luck will be able to handle the expected growth up towards 2,000 runners.

The Pink Poker Run to raise money for Susan G. Komen 3 day for the cure will be back with a “Bike Rodeo” on the back side of it and hog roast.

We are pulling the plug on the Haunted corn maze and will be planting pumpkins in that area and making the woods part of the wagon ride paths. Plus the Pony Express is going to make it’s way back into the Corn Maze design.

The cane burning Par-Tay is gonna have a bigger pile, the monthly “Vintner Dinner” series keeps selling out so look for some new ideas coming there, the cruise-ins’ are every week starting in May and well wait to ya see the giant Hill-Slide we are building…..! Whew, and that’s not all! Stay Tuned!

At Maize Valley, We Make Great Wine…FUN!

Can’t U smell that smell????

Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Liquid storage tank

Liquid storage tank

Applicator Truck

Applicator Truck as it distributes material

Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

No this isn’t “that” smell, but this smell can surround you!

One of the most important things to growing good crops is fertility managment. Plants absorb nutrients at the ionic level based apon a variety of factors. When trying to grow good crops it is very much like trying to always solve a problem to improve your production. When doing so you must first solve for your first “limiting factor” or the first thing that is holding you back just as in any given situation.

You can’t fix the big problem unless you solve the first thing that is holding you back. Think of it as a bucket (the field) with holes in it that you are trying to fill with water (crop yield = $$). You fix the holes closest to the bottom of the bucket first and work your way up the bucket all the time it holds more water.

Often times in growing crops it is not so much “how much” you have of any given nutrient that makes or breaks the production but rather the realative relationship or balance that nutrients have to each other and their environment.

For instance sandy (or light) soils do not hold nutrients as well as soils with a high concentration of organic matter or clay (often called heavier soils). Knowing this helps you manage all of the inputs you will using to help produce a crop. On the flip side those sandy soils often dry out faster in the spring and warm faster as well, but are also have a greater risk of frost damage.

So you just try and keep all these variables in mind and try and find the best balance possible given your location. But it doesn’t stop there because then you have to factor in the economic and environmental aspects as well….Wheeewww! No farming like any “profession” is not easy but nothing worth doing ever is!

Take Care.

Hey grand pa…whats for supper?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Spinach getting going

Spinach getting going

"Pole beans" B 4 the pole part!

"Pole beans" B 4 the pole part!

More and more people are asking not only what is for supper, but where did it come from? It is still not a huge amount yet but it is growing every year. In order to see if we can maintain our agricultural roots and adapt to meet an emerging market we have over the past three years begun to grow a wider variety of crops. From garlic to green beans, from cantelopes to carrots.

Almost all of these items we sell direct to the consumers and even incorporate them into our entrees’ served at our farm market and winery.

Two short clips below! The first one shows my “culinary roots” you might say the second actually has some views about what’s comin’ up, down on the farm.

Take care!