Visit decorated homes, and farm & winery

Live HGTV instead of watching it! The Mason-Dixon Library Holiday Home Tour is this weekend. THIS Saturday, you can tour real, decorated homes, churches and more while supporting the local library. Read more below….

Call the library direct at (717) 993-2404 to reserve your advance tickets, Hugh!

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Uh, no. The tour is not of garish light displays, though Farmer Hugh LOVES garish light displays. The Holiday home tour is THIS Saturday, December 2nd from 12-5pm. Tour Five Residences, Muddy Creek Forks Village, Prospect UMC and Quaker Meeting House.

HGTV?! See the real thing. Touring houses supports the local library.

Hey,

I grew up reading books. The Mason-Dixon Library in Stewartstown is one of our local favorites. Every Christmas Season, the library recruits local home owners to open their homes for the Holiday Home Tour.

Do you watch HGTV? My wife sure does, and she LOVES the Home Tour. With your ticket, you get to visit real homes in person to see the decorations and the architecture.

Along the way, you might need a break and a pit stop, so swing into the farm market for some treats, and the winery for some shopping and tasting.

Here’s the plan for the weekend:

#1 – Reserve your tickets to the Mason-Dixon Holiday Home Tour IN ADVANCE and explore local homes to enjoy the decorations. The tour is Saturday, December 2nd from 12-5pm.

#2 – Swing into the farm market for a bakery treat & a fancy coffee. Maple Lawn Farms & bakery is open Saturday 12-5 and Sunday 1PM-5PM. See more on Facebook CLICK HERE->>

#3 – Maple Lawn Winery is open Saturday 12-5 and Sunday 1PM-5PM. Wine is the perfect gift for people who already have everything. Grab a 4-pack of our flavorful wines, plus a 4-pak of hard cider for you!

#4 – Get your tree! Jarrettsville Nurseries is open November 24th through December 22nd Weekends 9AM – 5PM, Weekdays 10AM – 5PM. [CLICK HERE: See Jarrettsville Nurseries on Facebook]

They have a new pre-cut tree area up high in the woods on the farm called “The North Pole”. You take a FREE hayride to “The North Pole” to select from the trees cut’n’ready-to-go!http://www.jarrettsvillenurseries.com/

PLUS, The Maize Quest Trackless Train is running on the weekends at the Christmas Tree Farm, and Maple Lawn Farms bakery treats are available at the tree farm as well!

There’s a lot going on in the community this weekend as we get closer to the holidays, so get out and enjoy it!

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

 

Fly-over the Sunflowers at Maple Lawn Farms

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 Click on Picture to Watch Drone Fly Over

Full Details:

Maple Lawn Farms Sunflower & Peaches Weekend

Who:

Maple Lawn Farms, Maple Lawn Winery & Maize Quest Corn Maze & Fun Park

What:

The farmers at Maple Lawn Farms planted 5-acres, or approximately 5 football fields of sunflowers. In one section, it’s planted full of the classic yellow sunflowers that will mature at about 5 feet tall. In another 2 acres, visitors get to see 10-12 different varieties that display the wide spectrum of sizes and colors in ornamental sunflowers.

Why:

“Sunflowers are symbols of positive thoughts, feelings and create a happy atmosphere,” says Hugh McPherson, Maize Quest’s Mazemaster. “They connect with people, and we want people to connect with farming on a personal level.”

When: Maple Lawn Winery Sneak Preview Event: Friday Aug 11, 2017 5PM-9PM

General Public Admission: Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Last ticket allowed ONE HOUR before closing. Fields closed at listed hours.

Details: The Sunflower Festival is an experience. All guests park at the farm market. Each ticket includes a wagon ride to the field of sunflowers. Guests spend as much time taking pictures, exploring around the field, and reading informational signs as they like. Each ticket includes one ‘stem’ or LIVE cut sunflower.

Parking is FREE.

After exploring the sunflowers, guests may enjoy ice cream, donuts, pies, fudge, cookies and more from the bakery and farm market. Food trucks are on site for lunch, snacks and dinner. Maple Lawn Winery is open for tastings and shopping Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM for guests over 21 years old.

Winery Sneak Preview Details: Friday Aug 11, 2017 5PM-9PM, Maple Lawn Winery is hosting a VIP wine tasting, LIVE music and food truck event. This event will be the FIRST opportunity to visit the Sunflower Fields via wagon ride, and is limited to 250 guests over 21 years old (I.D. required).

Maple Lawn Winery will be open for wine tastings and our outdoor event area offer space to enjoy dinner from the food trucks and beverages from the winery and local breweries while listening to live music.

Ticketing disclaimers: Ticketing is limited and MUST be purchased online to ensure admission to the event. Due to our capacity, we are strictly limiting ticket sales BY DAY to ensure every guest gets plenty of pictures in the sunflowers.

NOTE: Sunflowers are an agricultural crop and therefore subject to weather, growing conditions and ripening variables. We cannot guarantee that the sunflowers will bloom on a particular date, so prepare to be flexible by 7-10 days in your visit.

Stay tuned on Facebook. for up-to-the-minute plans. The event is an outdoor event and therefore held weather permitting. Should a complete crop failure arise, tickets will be exchanged for Maize Quest Corn Maze & Fun Park tickets OR a Maple Lawn Winery upcoming event OR for Maple Lawn Farms fruit and merchandise certificates. NO cash refunds.

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Pap-pap loved him some Burgundy Peaches

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He could pare a peach and keep the skin in a single piece.Pap-pap, as my kids called him, or Grandpa, as me and my sisters called him, was Alfred Spory. Grandma Evelyn and Al were quite a pair and they loved canning peaches. My kids only got to do it a few times before Pap-pap passed away, but what fun times they were.
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Maple Lawn Farms

Burgundy Peach Weekend:

Hey,

Pap-pap preferred Burgundy peaches. Because Burgundy peaches resist browning when you cut’em, which means you have more time to get them in a can, and this is Burgundy Peach Weekend.

This is always the week I think of Pap-pap and those canned peaches. Mason jars stacked neatly with peaches magically levitating off the glass bottom.

If you’d like memories like that, this is your week. Burgundy Peaches are in for this weekend and they ALWAYS sell out.

Here’s the game plan:

  1. Get a friend – Many hands make light the work, as Grandmother Mabel used to say.
  2. Stage the home with good counter top space.
  3. Get to the farm.
  4. Pick 2-4 baskets per family / couple.
  5. Sample a juicy peach in the orchard.
  6. Head back to the home with the counters.
  7. Turn on some music, relax, talk, share, pare and prepare the peaches.
  8. Can like crazy…

…and in ONE DAY, you can have peaches to last the winter!

I know ‘people don’t can anymore’, but since when did we tell our children to be like everybody else?!

Be a rebel. Can some peaches with your friends, dang it. Pap-pap would have loved to help. He loved him some Burgundy Peaches 🙂

See you at the farm,

Farmer Hugh

PS Need a tutorial?[CLICK HERE] Watch this video (you can tell this guy just loves peaches:-), it’s close to the way we did it with Pap-pap. Pap-pap really liked to dice the peaches for 3/4 of our canning, then do a few peach halves at the end. Enjoy!

PPS Note we DO NOT cook the peaches before paring – Keep it FRESH! Many videos online show pre-cooking, but just use tree-ripened peaches and you don’t need to pre-cook them.

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RedStar Peaches are ready, come & get’em

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Great News: Peaches are HERE! RedStar peaches, a delicious, semi-freestone peach on on the trees and ready to pick for the weekend. We also have Eastern Glo Nectarines and Blueberries – Make an efficient trip and get ALL THREE!
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Maple Lawn Farms

Peach Season begins!

Dad brought in a peachy treat from the orchard and, like a tsunami, once one peach was ready, we now have boxes and boxes off to our wholesale customers and lots to pick for YOU, our guests!

Peach season is here, and if you haven’t before tasted a fresh, juicy peach from the tree, ooooooooh, mommy, you are missing out.

They are SO juicy, that Miss Dee chased me out of the market with a broom because I was dripping on her floor. [CLICK to SEE VIDEO on Facebook Page]

Peaches are ready!

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

 

“Horses to Horsepower”

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Farm safety in the 1920’s, my Grandmother and Aunt Lindy got to “ride the scoop” as they dug the barn foundation.

Last Chance for Cherries!

What a great cherry season, but with this rain it will be the final cherry picking weekend. Blueberries are VERY plentiful, picking is more like ‘milking’ the berry bushes and your box fills quickly, just like your freezer should!

Blueberries in the Patch, Nectarines & Ice Cream in the Farm Market

Orchard & Market Hours: Mon-Sat 8AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Winery Hours: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

“Horses to Horsepower”

My Grandmother Mabel McPherson and her sister, Aunt Lindy, had a big hand in raising us. Any time my parents were off to a convention or late meeting, my two sisters and I would go over to Grandmother’s house to spend the night.

On one of these occasions, they told us the story of “riding the scoop”. The Slip Scoop or Fresno Scraper was the excavating tool of the day. Apparently, the girls were allowed to ride the scoop back empty, once the dirt had been dumped. The barn for which the foundation was being dug, still stands at the old Anderson Homestead to today.

Wow. ONE horsepower. One scoop the size fit for two little girls to ride in back in the 1920’s. Oh, how times have changed. By the time Grandmother and Aunt Lindy were taking care of me, we already had a tractor producing 150 horsepower, and now we top 208 horsepower in our John Deere 8130 that weighs in at 25,000lbs! (Our backhoe could have dug the barn foundation in less than a day.)

That’s not that long ago. Think about the changes you’ve seen in your lifetime. In the 1920’s 30% of America’s workforce was working in agriculture. In 2008, less than 2% of the population works in agriculture and the U.S. is still a net exporter of food; we feed ourselves and the world.

What does all that mean? In less than 100 years, we’ve moved as an agricultural industry from horses to horsepower, freed up 28% of the population to be productive elsewhere in the economy, AND feed ourselves, plus export our surplus food stuffs to the world.

Let’s face it, farmers are amazing!

As YOUR local farmer, we need you to participate in the next wave of agricultural innovation: Direct Marketing. Direct marketing means that you come to the farm to get the freshest, bestest fruit and cut out the middleman.

Interestingly, if we were focused solely on producing the maximum tonnage of fruit per acre, we would CLOSE OUR DOORS to the public and meticulously harvest each tree ourselves. (Ever seen apples on the ground during October? Sure, that’s because kids and families are in there experiencing the harvest – they just can’t possibly be as careful picking as we might be with our trained crew.)

NO PICK-YOUR-OWN on the FARM?! What fun would that be?!

Maple Lawn Farms likely seems really big when you visit, but in the grand scheme of agriculture, we are a small local farm. Small local farms need guests like you to enjoy the fruit we produce directly from the blueberry bushes and peach trees and cherry trees.

You see, back when Grandmother was “riding the scoop”, all agriculture was local. In the process of 100 years of change from horses to horsepower, the importance of local agriculture and local customers is the one thing that stayed the same.

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

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Holiday Pies Today – “New Celebrations & Local Farms”

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Pick-up Holiday Pies at Maple Lawn Farms. Winery OPEN for last minute shopping, too. Call ahead for for Dee to bake them 717-382-4878.

Farm Market, Bakery & Wine Tasting Room


Directions LINK: CLICK Get to the Farm NOW

Farm market OPEN: Wednesday Nov 23 Exclusive Hours 11AM-5PM Holiday Pies, Dumplings & More , Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Bakery: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

Wine Tasting & Sales: Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM

More on the Winery: www.MapleLawnWinery.com

Hey,

Whew. Harvest season really takes it out of us. We strain under the effort to get it all done; to host all our guests; to harvest all the apples. Then, it is over and a hush falls over the farm.

Combines finish corn harvest. Final fruits are picked. The Fun Park is winterized and packed safely away. And it is quiet.

Quiet sounds good and, in fact, it feels good, too. Neglected tasks at home are slowly brought right. Family dinners once again commence each night kid’s activities allow. We fire up the pellet stove.

It is quiet.

Farmer Hugh can enjoy all that peace and quiet… for about 2 weeks. Then, once recovered hours of sleep catch up, it’s on toward new celebrations and it is those celebrations I share with you today.

First, thanks to you and your patronage, the winery’s very first year has been a success. Winemaker Matt & I have been working feverishly to replenish supplies of Apple Cider, Apple Blossom Wine, Peach Blossom Wine, and we’re adding a new product we hope to release before Christmas. So, Thank You!

Second, for the first time ever, we are keeping the Farm Market and wine tasting room open through December 18th. Every Sat 12PM-5PM, Sun 1PM-5PM you can shop BOTH for gift baskets, Miss Dee has really made some nice things, and gifts of wine for holiday dinners, parties and gifts.

Third, we are continuing the entertainment at our local farm friends’ Christmas Tree Farm with Train Rides each Saturday 10AM-5PM & Sunday 1PM-5PM, plus a special day of fun Black Friday 10AM-5PM. It all happens at Jarrettsville Nurseries at Holy Cross Rd in Harford County, MD (about 10miles from Maple Lawn Farms).

Let me share a little story about Jarrettsville Nurseries. For years now, our Pumpkin Express wagon and hayride wagon have been hauling guests out to the Christmas Trees for the Saulsbury family. It worked out perfectly – We had giant wagons and a tractor we weren’t using in December, the Saulsburys had an extra tractor they weren’t using in October. In the spirit of cooperation, we annually pull a switch-a-roo. Great fit, right?

Boyd Saulsbury, the patriarch at the tree farm, connected with me and we’ve been trading tractors for years. Heck, one year, my wagon came back with a new wooden deck Boyd had repaired as a surprise ‘thank you’. Eventually, Boyd asked us to bring down our bakery products and fresh donuts, which we still do each year.

About seven months ago, after a long battle with cancer, Boyd passed away. As is often the case, it is a trying time with a lot of soul-searching to determine if the farm can, and if the family can, continue without the lost leader.

Many you know that my mother, Gail, passed away back in 2005 and we had a long road to recovery. So, when Dana, wife of Boyd, sons Tom and Brandon, and daughter Ellie determined they wanted to continue the Christmas Tree Farm, well, we are all in to help them succeed.

So, friends, if you need a Christmas tree and would like an enjoyable family event to get one, we recommend you visit our friends and fellow local farmers the Saulsburys at Jarrettsville Nurseries at Holy Cross Rd. I know you can get a tree pre-cut other places, but, just as you take the time to visit us for the freshest fruit, give choose & cut Christmas Trees a try this year.

When you visit, take an extra 5 minutes to simply stand on their beautiful tree farm, breathe the fresh piney air, and enjoy. Just as you enjoy our farm in the Fall, make a new celebration this holiday season at another, local, family-owned farm.

Have a great week. We are thankful for all of you!

Farmer Hugh

Life on the Farm – “Fall Harvest Poetry Slam”

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Our beautiful maple tree in full fall glory.

Hey

If you know me, you know I like words. I’ve always been fascinated by the power of words, and so we’re launching the first-ever, Maize Quest Fall Harvest Poetry Slam.

That’s right. Poetry. Why? Because expressing emotion, meaning through words is an art form to be encouraged. It is difficult to collect an experience in words. Sometimes the moment is so meaningful it seems to defy verbal expression.

I’ve been thinking a lot as I stand in the fields with people picking pumpkins, as I drive the tractor through orchards bursting forth with fruit. My feelings of gratitude for guests, for the farm, for the opportunity to do what I love and share it all are overwhelming.

So here it is, a poem about Fall. If you want to hear it performed, [CLICK HERE]

“Never to be missed.” – by Farmer Hugh

Crisp.

Both wind and fruit,

Crisp crunch of leaves under foot.

Bursting colors of leaves, ripe fruit on trees,

Winter’s cold hastens hibernation to the root.

Cozy.

Sweaters, scarves and long pants calling,

Wrapping form whilst leaves are falling,

Snuggling hugs warm heart as cheeks turn rosy.

Flavors.

Bursting crunchy apples, juicy bites,

Hot sweet cider Harvest’s rite,

Flashlights flitter through stalks at night.

Pumpkins orange, green and white,

Turn into pies in ovens piping,

Frost clings to windows icing.

S’more and meat over campfire savor,

All treats, no tricks, on this farm favor,

A Harvest full of nature’s flavors,

Never to be missed.

Click the watch the video of the poem performance.

Life on the Farm – “The End of Authoritarian Farmers.”

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Life on the Farm – “The End of Authoritarian Farmers.”

 

For almost 20 years, I have been a dictator. Now, I’d style myself a “Benevolent” Dictator, but authoritarianism was still the rule of the day. Due to the paradox of business growth, the rise of the millennials and the aging of my daughter, my authoritarian days are over. The promise and trouble of the top-down management style handed down from generation to farming generation has met its match in this modern day of agriculture, and I’ll share why.

I came by it honestly. Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about – Dad rules, and he makes the rules, because he is ultimately responsible for the family’s well-being. He puts food on the table. He disciplines. He is the head of the family.

Notions such as this might seem quaint in our ever-opening society, but back in the mid-seventies, when I was growing up, this was the norm. My grandmother and grandparents all were depression era people. This was even more entrenched in their generation and stories of family lore were of heroic family men sacrificing for the farm and family. Those men were revered for it.

I came by this honestly.

The life transition came slowly. I married a strong, beautiful woman, who “wasn’t about to take my last name, thank you very much.” I had to learn to work beside my Dad (old school) without the two of us killing each other in a desperate battle for control.

I learned as our business grew that I needed other people, brilliant people, to help design mazes, cut mazes, organize ordering, proof materials, help at the Fun Park – terrifyingly, I was no longer able to be in complete control of every moving part of the farm and business.

It was at a board meeting of Farmers Inspired, a national organization of farmers who do what we do at Maple Lawn Farms, that I first learned an African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

What a profound statement. We, I, You don’t have to go it alone, running as fast as we can. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. What a joy to have the pressure of being alone, doing it alone lifted off our shoulders. What if we could “do it together”?

Back to the farm. I frankly couldn’t do this alone. Think about it – Dad manages production. Matt manages row crops AND works with me on the wine. Michelle books the groups and organizes the ordering for the farms we help. Janelle does the books and the schedules. Betsy does payroll and farm invoicing. Dee manages the market. Allen helps you in the orchard. Frank fixes everything. Jenny pours wine and leads at the Fun Park. Plus, over 65 part-time staff deliver the fruit and the experiences you know and love on the farm.

Authoritarianism is dead. The days of a “boss” screaming insults at a “worker” are over. Everyone on the farm can go work anywhere else, heck, I’m a terrible manager if my people can’t be employed somewhere else!

Authoritarianism dead and I’ve noticed a few reasons why it’s not coming back.

1. Things are better with more eyes. I know I’m pretty good at making, say a brochure. However, when Audra does the graphic design, Michelle proofs for details and I write the exciting copy – the brochure becomes great.

2. More taste buds. I, now that we’ve done it, can make wine. However, when Matt and I discuss, plan, check and take notes, then run our ideas by our buddy Carl, winemaker at Allegro Vineyards, then have some of the women as additional taste-testers, we make tasty wine AND can replicate it on batch two.

3. Helping hands. I our process, I’m ultimately responsible for every guest experience, but I can’t possibly connect with every guest, every time they visit. We have a system of returning staff helping new staff get up to speed, train while shadowing and supporting each other as new staffers learn the ropes. Its a system of more helping hands, more teachers sharing knowledge.

My daughter just turned 14. She is a wonderful, caring, beautiful kid who is outgrowing her “Daddy” vertically and in maturity. I confess to not being ready to give up my little girl. While she was a child, authoritarian rules were for her education and safety. Now, as the bible says, “children are like arrows in your quiver”, meaning they are meant to be honed, then careful strung, aimed and released to fly true and free into the world. Luckily, I don’t have to let go just yet, but I assure you that my authoritarian days are over.

The myth of American Business and the American Dream. The myth is that a lone American hauls him or herself up by the bootstraps, bold goes alone to achieve great things. That’s just totally false.

The real American Dream is that a brave individual can believe so fervently in a positive vision of the future, that a group of like-minded people will choose willingly to join the cause. Together they will overcome the challenges and plot a course to success.

I no longer wish to be a Benevolent Dictator. I want to be a farmer, a business owner, people want to partner with for mutual benefit. I don’t want to bear the load alone, but share the success with the team as we go.

Maybe it’s my age, but I no longer want to go “fast and alone”, but, instead, I want to go far and go together.

Come meet the farm team, the winery team and the Fun Park team. You are going to be amazed at the quality group of people who’ve come together at our one little farm in Pennsylvania.

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh

Life on the Farm – “Farming finally makes sense.”

 

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When I was a kid, I wanted to design airplanes. I had posters of the SR-71 Blackbird supersonic spy plane and the B1 bomber (back when it was new). I just lived for the thought of designing something so big and so important.

Doors and windows. You’ve probably heard, generally from someone trying to console you after a defeat, “When God closes a door, he always opens a window.” In college, I got into the Ag Business program at Penn State, but I still secretly wanted to chase the dream of designing airplanes, so I took Engineering Calculus II.

That’s when the door slammed in my face. You see, I made it, got a B-, but the big realization was that I hated it. Not even the match so much as the future of this kind of work. I couldn’t see myself doing it for a lifetime. Airplanes were over.

At the end of college, I interviewed with my fellow Ag Business soon-to-be-grads. I interviewed for Farm Credit, got food poisoning at the interview banquet. SLAM. I interviewed with Continental Grain, got the job, but it was states away from my soon-to-be-wife. SLAM. Got a job selling insurance in my home county of York. Window OPEN.

Inside of 6 months, 3,000 cold-calls and bouts of jousting a large, insurance-minded bureaucracy the door was heading for my face again. I hated it. It was a job that sapped my will to live. Luckily, Maize Quest had just survived it’s first season (I ran it part time the first season) and I jumped for the opening window.

Maize Quest operates, then and now, as its own business, but I was so focused on it, we didn’t tie the experience to the farm like we should have that first year. Slowly, we integrated the experience to include the corn maze, fun park, apple picking, farm market and bakery as it is today.

Along the way, we built an Wireless Internet Service provider that shot high-speed internet service from our grain bins to local homes. It worked, but was a tremendous distraction for me. I’d work all day at the farm, then go climb someones roof to install an antenna or troubleshoot a transmission tower. It was exhausting and it didn’t make sense. So finally, to my great relief, we sold that business.

When everything makes sense. You might feel like I have over the years, that pull, a slight tug, at the back of your mind that for some reason, things don’t make sense. I believe this is in-congruence; when things don’t make sense together.

Bringing congruence to this farm. The reason things are finally in congruence, meaning they fit together, is our refocusing on the mission and vision of our farm.

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Hugh in high school. Not very knowledgeable about the future is he?

It goes something like this:

  • We are commercial farmers growing an abundance of crops.
  • That works because we can have our u-pick guests pick the very best and ship the rest.
  • Guests who pick, enjoy our farm products, so we staff and operate the farm market.
  • The farm market allows us to retail products, while keep staff employed between grading fruit for wholesale.
  • The winery makes sense, because over-ripe fruit is the juiciest and tastiest, but cannot be sold to wholesale or retail customers.
  • The Winery attracts more retail guests to enjoy all our retail and u-pick opportunities.
  • Maize Quest Corn Maze & Fun Park works because we know how to grow corn on a commercial level, so tending the cornfield it is straightforward.
  • Maize Quest brings more people who love the outdoors to the farm, who likely will enjoy u-pick fruit as well.
  • Maize Quest expands the time we can entertain guests to give them a longer experience on the farm, making the drive worth taking.

The Virtuous Cycle. Each part of our farm and business works together to build and support the other parts of the business. They all make sense, and the all make sense together.

When you grow up. I always smile when grown-ups ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. I think back to my high school days and remember that their wasn’t a guidance counselor form with a box marked “Maze Master” for me to check.

It’s a long way from designing airplanes, but there is a sense of relief each day when you have a lot to do, but it all makes sense. When things make sense, when they are congruent, it seldom feels like ‘work’.

See you soon at the farm,

Farmer Hugh

 

Maple Lawn Farms – “Peach = Soccer Ball?”

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Aunt Sarah & the kids find GIANT peaches and a GIANT Fantasia almost as big as a #1 Soccer Skills Ball.
Farmer Hugh Eats Fruit
[CLICK for VIDEO] Farmer Hugh tries to eat 1 of everything last week. Can he do it?
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” Routine, in an intelligent man, is a sign of ambition.” – W. H. Auden

The Rhythm of Life. We all use patterns, routines and habits to simplify our lives. If fact, our brains are pattern forming machines. It all started when the world was a more dangerous place. As humans, we had to survive.

The Brain uses the most fuel of any part of the body, so the brain became good at setting patterns to keep us from thinking all the time. Imagine if you had to think about breathing and making your heartbeat every second of your life! Now, breathing is blessedly a pattern that happens without our thinking about it.

Patterns you want. Many patterns and habits are things you would want. As adults, driving is like second nature, easy, but when something breaks the pattern, such as a braking vehicle ahead, our body jolts us to respond. Likewise, you have a rhythm at work, a pattern you follow each day. Kids have a rhythm at school, they’ll soon be in. You likely shop the same stores, drive the same routes, eat the same food and see the same people, day in and day out.

Patterns you don’t want. Unfortunately, patterns & habits can be harmful. Maybe you always roll your eyes at your teenage daughter. Maybe she always pulls out her phone every time the conversation lapses for more than 5 seconds. Maybe you always eat fast-food for lunch. Maybe you plop down on the coach the minute you get out of school and don’t move until 11PM with a crushing wave of cable sapping your will to live. (Just saying maybe…)

Robotic Life. Do you ever feel like your life is on autopilot? Like you are moving mindlessly through the days, busy as all get-out, but not going anywhere? You are trapped in your patterns; you are living a robotic life.

The Reassessment. This is a perfect time to break your patterns and escape to the farm. The fresh air and diversion from your normal sights, sounds and smells is a welcome relief to a brain stuck in the proverbial rut.

Nature has a way of connecting us to something bigger then the thrumming beat of daily life.

See you soon on the farm,

Farmer Hugh