The seasons are changing, the cool mornings and warm afternoons signal fall is on the way, and with it comes some favorite fall traditions: pumpkin patches and corn mazes.
Corn mazes are relatively new to the United States. The first known American corn maze was built in 1993 in Annville, Pennsylvania. The first in Nevada was built in 1998 at Lattin Farms in Fallon. The mazes are considered American interpretations of the ancient labyrinths.
For most people, navigating the twists and turns is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening, but for many farmers, mazes are serious business, often providing additional income after the growing season ends, as well as educating urban dwellers about agriculture and farming.
Specialty maze companies are often hired to help farmers design and build these modern day labyrinths. First, a design is chosen, and some can be quite elaborate. Mazes have been made into the shapes of Scooby Doo, the galaxy and even Johnny Cash.
After the design, the seeds are planted, usually in June, and that’s no small feat. A dense maze requires 36 thousand seeds per acre, planted in grids, as opposed to traditional rows. With most mazes covering a few acres that number adds up. Once the seeds sprout and the seedlings are several inches tall, the maze pattern is marked and the path is cut, usually by mowing the unwanted seedlings. The remaining stalks are allowed to grow, often reaching 10 feet tall. When the maze closes for the season, the corn is harvested and used for livestock feed, and the process begins all over again.
This year the infamous Great Pumpkin may actually rise out of the pumpkin patch. Two Northern Nevada farms have been chosen to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”. Lattin Farms in Fallon and Lazy P Farm in Winnemucca will feature custom designed mazes commemorating the beloved Peanuts characters.
The fall festivities at Lattin Farms begin September 23 with the opening of the corn maze, and the farm will host a special moonlight maze on October 15 during the full moon. Other activities include a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a kid’s corner and more. For hours and more information go to www.lattinfarms.com
Lazy P Farm in Winnemucca will debut this year’s corn maze on October 1, along with a pumpkin patch. The farm also offers a flash light corn maze during the evenings. While that isn’t designed to scare you the Farmer’s Harvest Barn of Terror is sure to give you the chills. Enter if you dare beginning October 15. You can find all the information at www.lazypfarm.com
Other corn mazes and pumpkin patches across Nevada sure to delight you:
At Andelin Family Farm in Sparks, the corn maze and pumpkin patch will open on September 24. This year’s maze features a USA theme. For those wanting a more frightening experience, the Corn Creepers Haunt and new this year, Zombie Paintball Apocalypse are sure to haunt. For more information go to www.andelinfamilyfarm.com
Corley Ranch in Gardnerville opens its Fall Festival every weekend in October. Visitors can enjoy the pumpkin patch, train rides, miniature golf and other family friendly activities. More information is available here: http://www.corleyranch.com/
Renner Farms in Smith will open a corn maze and pumpkin patch on September 29. It will be open seven days a week through October 31. Information and location can be found at www.rennerfarms.co/About-Us.html
For Southern Nevadans, the pumpkin patch at Gilcrease Orchard in Las Vegas is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from September 26 through October 31. More details are available at www.thegilcreaseorchard.org/
For a complete list of farm events, visit http://nevadagrown.com/events-list/