For some a corn maze is just a maze cut-out of a corn field, but to others it’s an artistic design that tells a story. While pursuing a career with his passion and love for agriculture, as well as creating a rewarding way of life for his family, Brett Herbst, Founder of The MAiZE preserved his heritage of the small family farm and has never looked back. The MAiZE which is located in Spanish Fork, Utah is the world’s largest corn maze which brings in millions of visitors each year to view this spectacular site.
The first corn maze was located in Annville, Pennsylvania. Today, there are over 280 mazes all over the world and they have become a popular tourist attraction during the harvest season. Plus, while you’re viewing the corn mazes, there is plenty of entertainment to keep folks happy and educated about agriculture. There are tractor rides, pyramids made from hay stacks, petting zoos, delicious mouth-watering food, and live entertainment just to name a few.
Corn mazes come in many different creative designs ranging from celebrity figures, characters, movie themes, sport figures, something relating to the farmers community or even a marriage proposal. “The most unique design I ever saw was a farm in Canada that created a giant QR code, [quick response code]” says Kamille Combs, Marketing Director of The MAIZE. She’s been with the company since it began 25 years ago and has seen a lot of different designs. “The creation of the solar system broke the Guinness World Record for the largest corn maze.” says Kamille, “This year we’re partnering with Peanuts as it’s their 50th anniversary of the 1966 animated television special, ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ based on the comic strip by Charles Schulz.
With autumn in full swing their corn mazes are open for business September to October 31st. Once November arrives the season is finished and it’s time to clean up and prepare for the next season. The stalks are tilled to help replenish the soil. The corn is not wasted as it’s grounded up for an all-natural livestock feed for the cattle. Spring is planting season and the most important time of the year. Correct planting of the type of corn is also important for the success of a corn maze. Selecting the right hybrid to plant must be considered for height and strength of the stalk. Stalk rot is a key factor a farmer must keep his eye on, especially those stalks with diseases. However, with proper fertilization, water, and some disease control a great crop is sure to grow.
In 1996, Brett Herbst built his first maze on leased land with the help of a few friends. Making a corn maze might seem simple. Grow a field of corn and cut-out everything that isn’t part of the maze. But as the corn grows, removing the wrong stalk can change the shape of an image. An eye or the chin on a face may be distorted. A letter may be squashed making the word difficult to read. So how do they create a maze in simple terms? Think of a piece of graph paper and imagine that your corn stalk sits in every square. Now plant your stalk according to your graph paper. Plan out your design and note where you need to remove your corn. Simple, right? Not exactly, but you get the idea. It takes the experts at The MAiZE to create the perfect design. They come up with a blueprint based on your lot and acreage, place red flags around the farm and with an array of high tech tools, mow and rototiller the corn till your maze and image becomes visible. The ability to accurately space the rows and columns before the corn stalk is cut is crucial to create the vision you want.
For small farmers, incorporating a corn maze onto their property may provide a supplemental income that may be crucial for their livelihood. Depending on the complexity of the maze, the cost of starting a maze can be as little as $5,000. If a farmer is thinking of starting a corn maze, The MAiZE is the number one corn maze business consulting firm. They have a directory of over 2,800 previously created designs to choose from or you may choose to create your own. “When you use our services it’s more than just a business relationship, you join our family,” says Kamille, “You’ll receive networking opportunities, staff support, resources, vendor discounts, online tools and our satisfaction guarantee.” Another important feature is territorial rights. The MAiZE agrees not to partner with any new farmers within an exclusive radius of your property. The MAiZE also gives back to farmers, by offering college scholarships to the farmer’s children. Like planting back into their lives, so the harvest continues to grow through the generations.
For more information on The MAiZE, or to find a corn maze in your area, please check out their website at www.themaize.com.
© By Linda Yonan