Archive for October, 2009

Ohio Issue 2, Vote Yes

Friday, October 30th, 2009
Issue 2

Issue 2

I really try not to get political on any aspect of my life nor on this blog. Afterall it is called Ohio Wine and More , what does politics have to do with that? What do animals have to do with wine? Why should you care? Why do I?

Here is part of an article written by John Grimes, OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Why is Issue 2 on the ballot? Out-of-state animal rights activist groups such as HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) have brought ballot initiatives to states such as Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and California to radically change how livestock and poultry are housed. In general, they are opposed to the confinement housing systems used for poultry, swine, and veal calves. The ballot issues in these states passed in favor of the animal rights groups and now livestock producers in the states are faced with significant changes in their production systems. Ballot initiatives are not the only method in which livestock producers have been impacted. Michigan legislators are in the process of banning many currently accepted housing systems for poultry, swine, and veal through legislation.

A link to the complete article is listed below and on the links portion of the web.

I am in favor of Issue 2 as well as most farmers that depend upon agriculture for their way of life. Especially those who beyond themselves employee people and have an economic impact upon their community in a larger sense than just providing for their family alone.

I run in many “farmer” worlds you might say. I know guys that farm in Ohio and Brazil, I sell produce at farmers’s markets where Mom and Pop and the kids work together. I know both, both are important for different reasons. Both need to be held to the same standards.

The smaller scale enterprises are the ones that mostly feel they are going to be hurt by Issue 2, most of the larger feel they can’t live without its protection from a looming and real threat.

In the end change IS coming, Issue 2 will allow us (actual Ohio producers) to have a greater say in that change compared to what has occurred to date in other states.

I put some links out about issue # 2 read them be informed and please vote. I will be voting in favor of issue #2.

Thanks and take care


OSU Extension educator John Grimes explains #Issue2


Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Hashtag this and hashtag that, I don’t even like hash you say?? That is what you call the “pound sign” we used to call it when you use it in front of a word in a “tweet”.

Isn’t that something that Elmer Fudd used to eat? Or was that Bug Bunny? Or could it even be used in say Green Eggs and Hash? Just say “Hash” and if you get “that far away look in your eye” as Jim Staford sang back in the day about the “Wildwood flower” and there is a whole other meaning.

So what is a Tweet Up you ask, well I asked the same thing and the folks at The Karcher Group (TKG) had the answers. In fact is was they who suggested the whole thing I think.

Since we do use Social Media a fare bit as a business tool and we have developed a great working relationship together the gang at TKG thought we were a good location to host such an event. If you follow us at Maize Valley you know we are sort of a winery with ADHD and are always out there testing the boundries and trying new stuff. This is an example of that.

As an agricultural based business we are also in the forfront of many new marketing techniques and blending of customer demographics. Farmers have always been great innovators of technology. That is why you don’t pay much for your food. I know most people think of us as simple bib overall wearing hayseed chewing worker types which is true. But did you know we had satelite guideance systems in our combines 12 years ago?

We use Face book and Twitter to reach new guests and keep our many friends, customers, and collegues informed as to “What’s coming up, Down on the Farm”. Come check us out!

Tweetup Thursday with @FunTsar & @KarcherGroup at Maize Valley! #MVtweetup

Pumpkin Marketing a 500 level course, Competitive Advantage, #Agritourism, #buylocal, eatlocal

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
My what sharp teeth you have?!

My what sharp teeth you have?!

Let me at em'

Let me at em'

Well I ain’t braggin but hey, sometimes even a blind nut finds a squirl….. or somethang like that? You C right up the street from us not even five minutes away lives this big ole’ metal dinasaur, and he ain’t purple! I have driven by it for a couple of years and this year I just stopped in to see if he might be interested in coming over to play?

Well his owner Mike West of Wild West Entertainment is just about as nice of guy as you could meet and he said “sure we can come over”. We worked out a dinasaur dinner budget (he’s gotta eat ya know), and well two weeks now are history, and the crowds just love to come to Maize Valley to see Megasaurus do it’s version of “Making Pumpkin Pie” Maize Valley Style. We are reloading for one more show on October 24th to highlight Megasaurus’s unique dinning style of cars and pumpkins. Now This is what I call Eating Local!

This fall has been a weather diasaster for us. We have had rain EVERY weekend since we opened the corn maze and fall harvest activities. But ya know what, our sales are down but not like they should be with the terrible weather we have encountered. We have lost all our Friday nights, and most all our haunted nights due to either direct rain or mud that made things unsafe. We upped the anti this year, the new maze games outlined in previous posts I think are paying off . The maze is staying in pretty good shape considering the weather, crowds and poor condition of the corn to start with.

I addition even though the haunt has not opened (one night so far) it allowed me to leverage marketing dollars from a local sponser excited about working with us and I was able to purchase several thousand dollars in radio that has in turn leveraged some other unique marketing ideas.

With this promotional push I had the confidence to go ahead and book Megasaurus which is a national quality act seen at Monster Truck shows all over North America (A similar machine sold for over $500,000 recently). And the story goes on with an agreement for next season as well and possible additional sponsors due the momentum and scope of our efforts to date and plans for next year. “And the beat goes on…..and the beat goes on”!

It’s all fun and games till somebody pokes an eye out or something like that I think Mom used to say… But hey when trying to carve our your place in the pumpkin selling world….sometimes it’s better to be lucky (have a megasaurus live up the street) than good!

Samuel Barber: Agnus Dei (Adagio for strings) #breast cancer, #farm

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
New Year's Eve 2009 at Troutman's, boy I hope 2010 is better!

New Year's Eve 2009 at Troutman's, boy I hope 2010 is better!

It’s been such a long time I think should be blogging, but time just slips away and keeps on going…..

Tons has happened here at Maize Valley since August, I am sorry to say I have lost track of time and fell down on the posts. As of late we are dealing with our sixth straight weekend of rain. Pretty much since the start of our fall harvest season and corn maze opening. Per the haunted maze we have had it open only one night out of a possible seven to date. Hopefully tomorrow night will be the second night, rain forcast for next weekend?

Most of all what rocked my world and has divided my attention was the news that my wife Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer on August 31st. Wow what a deal, dropped me to my knees. We had surgery last Monday, things went as well as could be expected, now we wait on final test results and plan future treatments. I guess it was good we were busy this fall, it helped to occupy our minds.

But we didn’t back down anywhere here on the farm. We just kept pushing like we have all our lives. Just one more challenge, with this time family first. I have learned a great deal about myself, I have learned a great deal about breast cancer and all the success stories as well. But you see a two years ago we lost my sister-in-law Mary Ellen Cole-Bakan, just over a year ago Michelle’s Mom survived. A roller coaster nobody should have to ride.

Mary Ellen helped us in the pumpkin patch from day one. She was great, anybody who would “forget” to pay as they got back on the wagon she would gracefully approach with a smile and be sure we got our money for the pumpkin. She was just a soft and bright soul and I often think of her as I see families in our pumpkin patch building their memories, as she is part of mine.

Cancer scared the hell out of me, I did not want to have memories I wanted to have my wife and business partner of almost 24 years now. You see this business with the help of her family, (mostly Chelle’s Mom and Dad) we have built together from the start at our first farm market conference back in Dayton over 15 years ago. That is where we got our first glimps of direct marketing, corn mazes, pumpkin picking and more. From there we began building a place that in turn helps build memories to last a lifetime for others. She and I are not “in love”, it is something that we do… Thanks Clint Black. Without her this place is just a body of work, hollow without her.

The surgery went well, we think and hope for now she is going to be in that close to 75% that survive today due to our early detection. Time will tell but more than time we are on this one with both feet. And the marketer in me looks to 2010 with breast cancer awarness month in October maybe we can help others by dovetailing our personal journey and our business into their lives as well.

Stay tuned, as maybe that is my purpose behind this new journey my wife, lover and best friend have embarked upon. Thanks to all the family and friends that have helped to lessen the sting with their actual help here on the farm, in the store and in the winery. Thanks to all the stories of realatives and friends that are still here today and words of encouragement of their success stories. That is what we plan of doing for others at the very least!