September 30, 2002
A - maze - ing
by Deborah Stone
How long does it take for a chicken egg to hatch? What industry in Washington employs the most people? How many squirts are in a gallon of milk? What are Washington's top five farm products when ranked by sales?
Test your agricultural knowledge with these and other related questions at Farm LLC's (Limited Liability Company) 6.1-acre corn maze, open now through the end of October at South 47 Farm in Redmond. This is the organization's second year for the corn maze and proceeds from the admission fees go toward preserving farmland and promoting sustainable farming in the Sammamish Valley.
The company was formed in early 1999 when a group of Root Connection Farm members got together to save their farm. They combined their talents, energy and finances and bought the Root Connection property several months later. Soon after, they purchased the property next to the Root Connection, now the Living Legacy Community Ranch, and later that year, they secured a 47-acre parcel on the corner of 124th St. and Highway 202.
To create opportunities for small-scale farming, Farm LLC leases small parcels of land on long-term leases to qualified farmers. The company also offers educational classes and activities for non-farmers and has Community Garden P-patches to allow people without access to land an opportunity to grow their own food.
The corn maze, a popular destination for families and school groups, stands over six feet tall and was cut into the shape of farm animals that are visible only from an aerial view. While twisting and turning their way through this seemingly endless labyrinth, visitors learn about local farmland by answering questions at each intersection. Correct answers lead to the right path, while incorrect responses lead to a dead end.
On a recent, balmy Saturday afternoon, the place was hopping with families out to enjoy some harvest fun. Some were slowly making their way from start to finish; others zoomed down the paths in search of the exit. Young and old seemed to take pleasure in discussing the questions and both were equally excited when they were able to choose the right response. Those who guessed wrong encountered a dead end and were met with a sign explaining the correct answer.
For some, negotiating the maze took a rapid 20 minutes or so, but for others, the process took longer. Many then headed over to look at the menagerie of farm animals or hopped on a wagon for a free hayride (on weekends only). Those craving refreshments headed for the kettle corn, cider, eggs, honey, sweet corn and apples.
The farm also has U-Pick areas, specifically set aside for the public to pick their own flowers and green beans (pumpkins will be available in October). The corn maze is open Thursday-Sunday, from 10 a.m. until dusk. Admission is $4 on weekdays and $5 on weekends. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. For information, call (425) 753-0756.