Archive for December, 2009

#PumpkinChunkin, Blog post 2, of my trip to the World Championship Pumpkin Chunk, #Agritourism,#farm

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
In the "Front Row" with the V Strom
Hanging out by their sound stage

Hanging out by their sound stage

Well this is post #2 of my journey to the Pumpkin Chunkin World Championships near Bridgeville DE. I am making several posts to show a spectators view of the chunk. I went as both a spectator and someone who built and owns a air cannon.

We have had ours for 5 seasons now and I am looking at expanding our fall events. One possible option is to create a chunk of our own on a smaller scale.

One thing about this event that struck me immediately is the sheer scale. It is just plain HUGE! From the Highway dept. signs you see coming in from miles away, the huge parking area and number of people working it, the walk to the grounds, big, just way big.

My first impression was that this event has a feel to me of a combination of events I am familiar with. If you are a Buckeye like me consider this. Combine the Farm Science Review, Hinneygate/Tailgate party, with a trip to the pumpkin patch and you begin to understand what I was walking into.

#PumpkinChunkin?, Yea out “Researching” new Ideas for Maize Valley! #Agritourism,#Farm,

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
The Big Guns on the firing line

The Big Guns on the firing line

I have sooooo much to tell about this event I rode out to see that I can’t squeeze it into just one blog entry! I would try, but my man Corey over at The Karcher Group (TKG) who helps with all my web stuff says “take it easy, post less content per entry but do it more often if you have a lot to say”.

That being said I am going to roll this story out in stages. Here is the approach and long view of the grounds, (over 200 acres plus parking) then we will get to more details later. You can also go to the Science Channel Web site to learn more too.

As many of you know we have been throwin pumpkins at our place for a number of years now. The main reason I went to the “Mother of all Chunks” is to see how a event like this works, feels, and rolls.

My wife Chelle and I are going through a battle with breast cancer and I thought to start a similar event at Maize Valley on a smaller scale just might be a great way to raise funds, awareness and have fun doing so.

A special thanks goes out to John Huber president of the Pumpkin Chunkin association for helping me learn more about this great event.

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….

Winter Work, starting next years crops now. #farm,#wine,#agritourism

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Underground drainage tile repair work

Underground drainage tile repair work

Yea I do talk and shoot a lot of videos but here and there I try and do some real work too. I guess we bloggers who actually get out in the real world and actually do something that contributes to our nations GDP are few and far between but here is one of the jobs that we need to get after in the “off season”.

Water is an essential element necessary for plant life. However too much is not good. All things need balance. When soils become saturated plants don’t do well. I had an animal science professor Dr. Kline, that once told us “Water is TOXIC, right up to here!” as he held his finger just above his nose.

Much is the same for plants so we put pipes or drainage tubes in the fields to remove excess water and improve plant health. It is one of the most expensive aspects of farming and requires maintance. In this case we have several plugged or broken field tiles in this particular part of the field and are just getting started trying to identify the locations and dig them up and repair the spots.

The tile can break, get crushed, or get things like tree roots growing inside that leads to low flow and more plugs so we begin the task of “hunt and peck” as we move about the field. Today I had Galen helping me on hand shovel and Burt running the trac hoe. Here are a few videos as we dig into the soil in search of the damaged tile.

This particular tile drains part of our rear vineyard, corn maze, part of an alfalfa field, and haunted corn maze. We were able to find and fix one of the problems but have more work to do in other sections of the field later this winter.

Maize Valley’s Breakfast with Santa

Saturday, December 19th, 2009
Santa getting warmed up!

Santa getting warmed up!

We like we say “There is Always Something Happening at Maize Valley”! And this year the big guy was back again! He parked the reindeer on the barn roof and spent the morning with us. We ended up having TWO seatings with Santa this year due to poplular demand. It looks like we will have to see if he can stop by more than one weekend next year.

Everybody had a great time. Mary, Todd and crew kept the food coming out hot and plentiful from our kitchen and our elves kept everybody moving so that the lines were short and the fun was long. Thanks to all the great folks who picked us as their families “meet and greet” location with Santa.

And one of the really cool things is we do sell a whole lot of great holiday gifts during events like these, that is one of the reasons we do them. Yes we do sell a lot of wine too, after all how do you think all those little ones get here?

Merry Christmas from Maize Valley!

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Merry Christmas from Maize Valley

Merry Christmas from Maize Valley

Greetings once again from Farmer Bill the FunTSAR at Maize Valley! It has been a long time since I sat down and entered the blogosphere on a regular basis but I hope to be back now that I have more time to sit down and report on what we have been doing at Maize Valley. I have shot lots of videos about what has happened throughout the year and believe or not we are pretty busy right now getting ready for next years growing season.

This is the season of giving, but also thanking. We have put our farmers’ market produce trucks to work decorating them for the holiday season and welcoming guests as they enter our market and tasting room.

Breakfast with Santa is sold out with well over 225 guests set to sit on Santa’s lap and pass along their wishes, or at least get a photo with him. Gift baskets are rolling out strong, thanks to all the great folks who chose Maize Valley to be a part of their holiday giving. We are adding new dinner specials for weekend evenings starting now and going all winter and beyond. New events coming up for next year include a “winemakers dinner” new appetizer, entrees’ and more!

#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.