NEW PARIS, Pa. — Craig and Amy Rose and their four children have always had a successful garden. A few years back, the produce was so abundant they decided to sell the excess at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Bedford.
One thing led to another, Amy Rose remembers, and they found themselves looking for a more permanent location where they could sell produce every day and not just on farm market day. They found it in an old car dealership located just off Route 99. They are highly visible with plenty of parking.
The 30-acre Rose family farm is located in New Paris, a small town about 10 miles from their market. The season starts in June with strawberries. From then on, it is a wide array of vegetables, almost anything but corn. “Corn takes up too much room,” Amy says. Instead they purchase sweet corn from a farmer specializing in corn and add it to their market array.
About 4 acres of ground was included with their produce market location, enough to grow corn, but rather than sweet corn, the family chose to plant field corn and create a corn maze for the fall season. “This is our second year,” Amy said. “And we learned a lot from last year.”
The four home-schooled Rose children pitch in to help with all of the farm projects. They are Isaiah, 15; Gracie, 13; Emma, 12; and Ezekiel, 10. Gracie and Emma pretty much man the corn maze during the fall season that began on Sept. 23 and will continue through Nov. 1.
“Our dad is the one who did the planning,” Emma said. Once they had the maze on paper to scale, they had to cut a path through the corn. They took it one step further by spelling out “Rose Farm” the first year and “A Maze Ing,” this year. Both of the words can be seen from an aerial shot.
Some maze farmers wait until the corn is mature and then cut the pathway. The Rose family quickly learned it is easier to cut the pathway while the corn is still very young. “There are plenty of dead ends in the maze to keep it interesting,” Emma Rose said. She says all of the Rose kids give it several tries to make certain that it is challenging, but not so difficult that they would lose anyone. “I run through it and it takes me only 10 minutes. But, if you are new, it will take about a half hour.”
About half way through they have a pumpkin sling shot where the adventurers can shoot a pumpkin into the field and then continue the maze to the finish line.
“We tried to keep the pathway wide,” Emma Rose said, because they don’t want the corn to brush against people. “If they don’t have on long sleeves, they could be allergic and that would make them itch.” She also said that it is certainly easier if they wear flat or easy to walk-in shoes.
The whole family got involved in cutting the pathway. Ezekiel ran the mower and when all else failed, they used a machete.
To make the popular maze even more enticing, the family offers face painting, a mini pumpkin to decorate, the pumpkin sling shot and a corn pit where children can play with toy trucks and tractors in a large bin of shelled corn. When the season is ended, a neighboring farmer with cattle to feed will harvest the nearly 4 acres of corn.
“We keep learning,” Emma Rose said. “Each year, it will probably get even better.”
Editor’s note: Everything is included in one price of $5 for those 6 to 12 and over 65. Those aged 13 to 65 pay $7.50. Children under 5 are free.
They can be found on Facebook at Rose Farm Corn Maze.