Wednesday, September 19, 2007

N.H. agriculture commissioner, in newsy Bulletin, tells us about the leading designer of corn mazes

When New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Steve Taylor retires next month, we will miss his writing for the Weekly Market Bulletin of the state Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. Steve was once a journalist, so he still has a nose for a good story, and the skill to tell it, so the Bulletin is one of the newsier and well-written publications of any state farm agency. The latest example of that is Steve's item in the latest Bulletin about corn mazes, the labyrinths that are chopped through cornfields to provide entertainment for "agri-tourists" and extra income for the farmers.

"New Hampshire’s largest and most intricate corn maze opens for fall fun this weekend in East Conway," Steve writes. "The corn-maze craze has spread all over the U.S. over the past few years, and the Sherman Farm’s layout in the Mount Washington Valley expects to draw visitors from throughout New Hampshire and Maine. It covers over eight acres, and contains more than three miles’ worth of twists, turns and decision points. The correct pathway can be walked in about 15 minutes, but its designer, Brett Herbst, figures it will take most people at least an hour."

Still a good reporter, Steve not only provides an aerial description of the maze and how it was planted and cut, but broader news useful to Rural Blog readers: "Herbst is a Utah-based entrepreneur who claims to have the largest cornfield maze design company in the world. Since getting into the business a decade ago he has designed over 600 mazes, including 160 this year alone in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Europe." We would have copyedited that sentence to say "more than 600," but it gives you some background and a starting point for research the next time you write about a corn maze. Thanks, Steve, and best wishes in your retirement. (Read more)

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