Friday, December 21, 2012

The Spirit of Giving: Marini Farm Hosts Tree Jubilee for The Ipswich Humane Group

Most Creative/Unique Tree - Gold Award: Ipswich Clambake
In a room filled with community spirit and joy, more than 50 local businesses, organizations and families gathered at Marini Farm’s large greenhouse December 4 to donate and decorate trees and wreaths on behalf the Ipswich Humane Group, Inc.’s annual Tree Jubilee Fundraiser.
From gorgeous glittery trees, elegant bonsais, crafty wreaths, and classic designs of simple beauty, the room oozed with creativity.  Local interior designers, greenhouses and landscapers displayed their own unique professional touches.
The panel of judges who viewed the donors’ entries and selected the winners included Ipswich Police Chief Paul Nikas, local artist Susan Burton, and Ipswich Selectman Patrick McNally.  The winners were: 
Best of Show Tree: The Parks Family
Best of Show Wreath: The Clambox
Best Professional Tree: Corliss Brothers
Best Professional Wreath:  Gordon’s Florist
Most Creative/Unique Tree
Ipswich Clambake
Silver: Ipswich Ale Brewery/Mercury Brewing
Bronze: Best Scentsy Wickless Candles
Most Creative/Unique Wreath
Gold: The Thompson Family
Silver: The Best Family
Bronze: Ipswich Shellfish 

Honorable Mention:
Time & Tide Fine Art
The Halliday Family

Then on December 7, 8, 9, 14, and 15, the public was invited to tour the gallery of beautifully decorated trees and wreaths, and purchase raffle tickets for a chance of winning their favorite tree.  For $5, participants were given 10 chances to win a tree or wreath, and for $10, they had 20 chances to take home a uniquely decorated item.

“Seeing the Marini Farm greenhouse alive with so much creativity, along with so many people coming forth to support the good cause of the Ipswich Humane Group, truly makes this season so special for us,” said Mike Marini.  “Contributing to community has always been part of our mission as third-generation farmers.”

On December 16, the raffles were drawn, and the 50-plus winners were called to pick up their trees and wreaths, with all the accompaniments.

As a result, $4,391 was raised, with more than double the number of donated trees and wreaths over last year. Additionally, viewings for the decorated items took place over two weekends this year, versus only a Friday night and all day Saturday last year. One hundred percent of all proceeds of the event will go directly to helping take care of the animals - including all veterinary bills and food - until they find “a forever home.”

Last year, the Tree Jubilee, also hosted by Marini Farm, raised $2,747 and had 23 donators. 

“The Ipswich Humane Group can't thank the Marinis enough for all they do to help our group and the stray and homeless animals that come through the Ipswich Animal Shelter,” said Heidi Best, president of Ipswich Humane Group. “In the last few years, the Marinis have been instrumental in our fundraising efforts through their Doggy Maze Day and the Tree Jubilee which have now become annual events. The donation of their greenhouse PLUS electricity, heat and so much more makes this all possible so 100 percent of all the donations go to the animals.”

Next year, the Ipswich Humane Group would like to increase the competition for the Tree Jubilee by inviting all veterinary hospitals and animal-related businesses to compete against each other for the most "creative" tree, Best noted.  Additionally, the organization would like to invite competitions between liquor companies and professional florists/garden centers to add to the great viewing of trees and wreaths.

“Thank you to all who attended plus congratulations to all the winners!  We hope to see you all next year,” Best remarked.  “Thank you again Mike and Kim Marini for all you and your family do to help the shelter pets."

With the Tree Jubilee expecting to return next year bigger than ever, start percolating your decorating ideas now. 

To joyfully giving back on behalf of the The Ipswich Humane Group,

Mike Marini and the Marini Farm Family 

Written by BloggerPros.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Selecting the Oh-So-Perfect Christmas Tree at Marini Farm is a Family Affair

Gather the family, pack a tape measure and heavy-weight gloves, choose a holiday CD to play en route and come on over to Marini Farm for one of the best selections of more than 2,000 pre-cut fresh Christmas trees.

A full selection of wreaths, decorated and plain kissing balls, swags, greens, roping, hand-made bows and gift items are also available. The Stand Strait Christmas Tree Stand--also known as The Marriage Saver--is available for sale with free tree drilling for owners of the stand. Considered the best Christmas tree stand available, it enables your tree to stand tall, straight and stable to prevent it from toppling over, and requires only one drill hole in the base of your tree.

Marini Farm starts shopping for Christmas trees right after July 4th, and they make it a family excursion. The Marini family takes a summer vacation in the Quebec area, and sets aside some time to meet with the tree growers and select the trees for the coming Christmas season. Balsam and Fraser trees are the most popular based on overall quality and shape, with Balsam known for their fragrance and Fraser knows for their strong branches and minimal needle drop. As Marini states, “Our hands-on selection process is the reason the quality of our trees is second to none,  and we want our customers to get the best tree possible for their families to enjoy.” 

According to the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA), 56 million trees are planted each year for future Christmases and 30 to 35 million families will shop and buy a "real" Christmas tree this year. Finding your perfect Christmas tree can be a challenge.

To make your selection process a little easier, Marini Farm has compiled these tips for picking and maintaining the perfect tree for you. 


1.  Get clear before you leave home where you will be positioning the tree and how much room you need. Take measurements of the height and width you need, and be careful not to overbuy. A tree can be the right height and still be too wide.

2.  Bring old gloves that you don't mind getting full of sap and take along a small hand saw if you want to do some trimming before bringing the tree home.

3.  Leave plenty of time to shop and enjoy the experience rather than rushing an hour before the farm closes. Marini Farm holiday hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

4.  Know where you tree comes from, as sometimes locally grown trees are fresher than those that come from far away.

5.  Find out when the trees were cut. If they are cut too early and left out in the sun in the fields, they will dry out faster.

6.  Check freshness by taking a branch and running your hand across it to make sure a lot of needles don’t fall off. Other tests: If the tree feels light for its size, it could be dried out. If a bent branch doesn’t snap right back, that’s a sign it’s getting stale.  Inspect them out in the light and look for any outward signs of dryness like a musty smell, brown needles or excessive needle loss. Fresh pine tree needles will be green and pliable when you bend them. The needles on a fir tree should be green and snap crisply when bent. Give the tree a good shake. If more than a few needles fall off, select another tree.

The shelf life of a fresh tree in a home, if properly cared for, is about four to six weeks.

7.  Make sure the tree only has one trunk and that it is not crooked or bent. Trees with two trunks cannot be placed in a holder, and they tip over easier as well, often breaking ornaments.

8.  The base of the tree should be cut right before you take it home, and then plunged into water when you get there. Some recommend soaking the trunk in hot water with a few tablespoons of sugar for three days, then keeping it in lukewarm water. Some stores sell life-lengthening powders you can mix in the water. If you do purchase a freshly cut Christmas tree, you should water it frequently, never let the water run out and avoid keeping the tree near a heat source.

9.  Take the tree into the doorway BASE-FIRST versus top-first to avoid losing branches, which are sloped upward.


According to National Christmas Tree Association polls, here are the favorite top 10 Christmas tree species sold in North America. 

#1. Fraser Fir
#2. Douglass Fir
#3. Balsam Fir
#4. Colorado Blue Spruce
#5. Scotch Pine
#6. Eastern Red Cedar
#7. White Spruce
#8. Eastern White Pine
#9. White (Concolor) Fir
#10. Virginia Pine

They each have unique qualities:

  • Noble fir, Fraser fir, Balsam fir, Douglass fir and Scotch pines typically retain their needles the longest.
  • The light scent and feathery dark green foliage of the Leyland Cypress is excellent for people with allergies, while the Balsam fir is highly aromatic.
Only some of these are available in this area. Do some research before you leave home so you know what type of tree best suits your needs.

Most importantly, enjoy making your tree shopping experience a happy family memory. To add to your enjoyment, Christmas on the Hill at Marini Farm features hay rides, a visit from Santa (December 8th, noon to 4 pm), giant snowmen and free hot chocolate.

From all of us at Marini Farm, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. 

The Marini Family

Written by Blogger Pros.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanks to Several Grants, Marini Farm Grows and Processes Its Own Fuel

Corn gets a lot of mileage at Marini Farm. From use in the enjoyment of summer cookouts to helping create the challenging 10-acre corn maze at Marini Farm, corn is much more than a handy vegetable.

One unique use of the corn, which supports Marini Farm's commitment to green energy, is as a source of fuel to heat the farm's green houses. Marini is a leader in the trend of farmers turning to their land and operations to generate renewable energy.

As an example, the third-generation farm is currently focusing on getting ready for the winter season by preparing to fire up its corn furnaces to heat four of their greenhouses used to produce bedding plants and vegetable starts. The farm loves to utilize its own resources to generate energy efficiencies.

"We're trying to convert all of our greenhouses from oil-burning to corn-heated," Mike Marini noted. "It's clean energy, and we plant corn for our corn maze, so we have fuel sitting out on our fields."

Corn heating units, which generate heat from burning shelled corn, date back to as early as the beginning of the twentieth century. During hard economic times, farmers burned corn to heat their homes. This heating method became highly prevalent during the Great Depression because the market price of corn was very low and farmers did not have available funds to buy fuel. A near pure food and pure fuel, corn burns virtually smoke-free, odor-free, ash-free, and pollutant-free.

As a result of rising energy costs, and the need to lessen the nation's dependence on foreign oil, the corn heating industry has experienced rapid expansion and has been supported as a viable alternative to traditional heating methods of natural gas, propane and electricity.

Clean energy practices are quickly becoming core to the operations of farmers and ranchers across America. It is estimated that renewable thermal technologies - like solar thermal, biomass thermal, advanced biodiesel, and high efficiency heat pumps - could create approximately 5,900 jobs and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over two million tons by 2020 in Massachusetts and the greater New England region. Assuming that historical market growth rates continue into the future, renewable thermal technologies will enable Massachusetts to achieve only about 500,000 tons of GHG emission reductions by 2020 - or about 25% of the two million ton reduction goal.

Clean Energy Farming provides many advantages, including:
  • Improving energy efficiency while saving money in fuel costs
  • Saving energy and protects natural resources
  • Producing renewable energy
  • Helping revitalize rural communities and improves the environment
  • Curbing global warming pollution and offers new economic opportunities for communities
  • Burning 20 percent hotter and burns much clean than wood
Marini is proud of its success towards growing crops without any oil. "We grew a whole crop of tomatoes without one drop of oil, which was a first for us," noted Marini.

Thanks to the help from the $5,000 grant awarded by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources' Agricultural Energy Grant Program, Marini Farm will be installing its fifth biomass incinerator, corn-burning furnace this winter.

With twelve greenhouses in operation, fuel costs are excessive. The farm also received three previous grants (two from the state and one from the University of Massachusetts) that were used to purchase corn-burning furnaces. Each incinerator costs about $20,000, according to Marini.

Mario Marini, getting the corn stove started up
With 27 grants totaling $325,000 to Massachusetts farmers, it is clear the state is focused on implementing renewable energy systems and improving energy efficiencies on farms throughout Massachusetts.

Clean energy farming creates energy systems that are profitable, demonstrate good stewardship of America's land and water, and benefit the environment and communities.

Marini's sustainability programs have reduced oil usage by approximately 50% and the goal is to convert the remaining seven greenhouses over to biomass fuel, which is expected to reduce oil consumption by more than 75%. The benefit of the grant is that it reduces the payback period for the infrastructure change making the economics of installing a new system a possibility. Marini is seriously motivated to continue to expand the farm's clean energy systems.

"It would be a great sense of accomplishment if we could someday power the farm entirely through clean energy practices," Marini commented. "Our customers can now enjoy our corn three different ways!"

The state supports this type of mission for farmers.

"We look forward to helping residents and businesses cope with the energy challenges ahead, so that the state can soon also be recognized as a national leader in renewable heating and cooling," said Mark Syliva, Commissioner Patrick Cloney, CEO of Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Massachusetts Clean Energy. --Commonwealth of Massachusetts (2012). Renewable Thermal Study - retrieved from 

written by Blogger Pros

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A "Pumpkin Patch" Marriage Proposal Becomes A Clever Family Affair at Marini Farm

Finding a romantic and unique way to propose to his girlfriend of four years became a brainstorming mission of Charlie Capillo. His girlfriend, Erica Alicandro, was too special for him to do anything ordinary when he knew it was time to ask the love of his life to marry him.

Originally, Charlie thought he would "pop the question" at Christmas, among family and friends, as Erica opened her last gift at a Yankee swap party. However, after Charlie bought the engagement ring, he was too excited to wait three more months to propose! With his head spinning with ideas for an alternative plan, Charlie liked the idea of following a festive theme so Jack-o'-Lanterns, hayrides, Halloween spirit and crisp fall weather all seemed to form a perfect combination for a surprise engagement.

"The idea to carve out the pumpkins was one of the first to pop into my head, mostly because of our love for the season. It all just fell into place." He also liked the timing of an October engagement, as it is their 4th year anniversary on October 25, 2012.

Immediately after sharing the idea with his Aunt, Kathy Capillo, who had recently visited the Marini Farm Corn Maze, the vision started to come to life. "The moment I walked up the hill from the parking lot, I knew Marini Farm was the perfect place," Charlie remarked. "My family and I did a test run of the hayride so I knew I needed help with lighting all those pumpkins."

The preparations became a family affair - and on the perfect setting of a third-generation farm no less. Mike Marini, owner of the family farm, and Kathy Brunner (Maze Marketing Manager), helped with the plans.

Family and friends came the eve of the proposal to prepare all the pumpkins. It took 22 pumpkins, a team of family and friends and more than ten hours of cutting to carve out the words, "Will You Marry Me?". The words were perfectly carved with stencil-like clarity and all the pumpkins were precisely positioned along the first tier of hay on the hayride.

Then, on the night of the proposal, Charlie's aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, cousins and his and Erica's parents returned to the farm to help light all the pumpkins. All had to keep a watchful eye on each word to make sure none of them went out while Charlie was waiting for Erica to arrive.

After meandering the corn maze along with Erica before reaching the designated proposal spot (and even getting lost a few times although Charlie had scoped it out previously), he popped the question.

With no other lights around the all-important question stood out in a row of perfectly carved pumpkins. Erica didn't even know the whole family was there to join them in celebration, until she heard "Congratulations!" yelled upon accepting Charlie's proposal, shouted from all directions.

A few weeks prior to the proposal, Charlie and Erica had visited Ipswich, marveling at the idea of returning for a fall date to one of the Marini Farm Corn Maze "flashlight nights". So it was with that date suggestion he was to bring Erica to the farm for the proposal.

While the intricate carving process was long, "The biggest challenge was actually getting Erica to the Farm that day," Charlie explained. "I had hinted to the idea of visiting the corn maze earlier that week and Erica seemed to like the idea so I thought it was golden. Little did I know that morning it would rain for three hours straight. Around noon, Erica sent me a text asking if we could find something else to do because it was not shaping out to be a good day to be outside. My heart sunk but I played it cool and told her she was right, but maybe the weather would clear up later, which it did. And, it turned out to be a beautiful, but brisk October night."

The couple is hoping to keep the fall country theme alive, with a barn wedding around this time next year. The exact date and venue have yet to be established.

"Organizing the event with the farm couldn't have been easier - Kathy, Mike and Marini Farm will always have a special place in our hearts," Charlie noted, gratefully. "From the moment I told them of my plan, they could not have been more accommodating. They really helped my idea come to life. I could not have done it without their kindness and generosity."

Erica was so stunned by all the organizing that went into the proposal, noting "It was only because of Marini Farm's help that Charlie was able to give me the most amazing proposal a girl could ask for!"

While this was a first engagement event for Marini Farm, some other special happenings at the farm occurred this season, including a 50th birthday celebration that included a hide and seek game in the corn maze. The Marini's are thrilled to be a part of these special events.

written by BloggerPros

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Marini Becomes First Farm In The Region To Bring Pink To The Pumpkin Patch

Rows of pink pumpkins are brightening up the pumpkin patches at Marini Farm this fall - in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The farm is donating a percentage of every pink pumpkin sold to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation for cancer cure.

The first farm in the region to sweeten up the pumpkin patch with the bubblegum-colored pumpkins, Marini grew these pink "Porcelain Doll Pumpkins", as they are called, for the first time this year. Besides the different color, these pumpkins also add variety to the palette. As a cross between pumpkin and squash, they have a deep ribbing and a more plump shape, with a sweet flesh which can be used for pies, soups, and other gourmet culinary dishes.

Marini was also the first farm in the region to grow white (or "lunar") pumpkins, which they started producing in 2010. The color is really the only differentiating feature between them and the more traditional orange pumpkins, although the white has been know to make some terrific jack-o-lanterns with glow-in-the-dark effects when properly lighted.

The commitment this year to pink pumpkins is part of Marini's philanthropic efforts to "give back".

"Our grant application committee is looking for qualified breast cancer researchers with a solid program and a high percentage of dollars spent on actual research", said Don Goodwin, president of the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation. "We want to award the monies raised to well-deserving organizations in hopes of getting closer to finding a cure for this devastating disease."

Hundreds of farms across the U.S. are participating in the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation program, and are donating a share of proceeds from every pink pumpkin sold to organizations dedicated to breast cancer research. Based on this year's sales of the pink pumpkin seeds, the foundation anticipates grants awarded to total between $100,000 and $500,000. The organization is urging people to make their pink pumpkins visible on their porches this month to show their support in putting an end to breast cancer.

"With so many families affected by cancer, we wanted to contribute to the cause and show our support to all the families who have been affected", said Mike Marini, owner/operator of Marini Farm. "We feel this program will catch on with all pumpkin growers and will make a difference in providing much needed grant funds for cancer research."

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1,638,910 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2012, and about 577,190 Americans are expected to die of cancer. It is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. The future outlook is alarming with about 1 in 8 U.S. women developing invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.

Thankfully, these celebrity women survivors (click here for link) are providing hope and inspiration to many and are using their clout to boost breast cancer awareness.

Marini Farm encourages you to think PINK in October and beyond, and support cancer awareness and research. The farm also plans to expand its pink pumpkin patches in the coming years and stay committed to supporting cancer research.

Written by Blogger Pros

Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's A Corn Field...and It Can Be Muddy

When we have a lot of rain, our Corn Maze can be pretty muddy. It's a 10 acre corn field, after all, and that's just what happens in a field of dirt once it rains. There are so many miles of paths through the maze, it's not realistic to put any sort of covering over the soil - so be prepared! Wear hiking boots or rain boots if you're coming through the maze after a particularly rainy period. Remember, it's the fun of completing the maze and enjoying the outdoors in New England's most colorful season. You don't want to be thinking about wet feet or ruined shoes - just plan ahead!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Than Just a Corn Maze...A Great Fall Escape

Marini Farm is run by a third-generation family of farmers, with a mission to bring families, friends, peers, clubs, professionals, scouts, schools and others together to enjoy and appreciate agriculture in fun, interactive ways. Its corn maze, for example, is a puzzle offering hundreds of possible solutions, with many visitors repeating the adventure several times, in hopes of finding a quicker way out.

A trip to the corn maze is a true escape moment like an astronaut on a mission - a time when you can't focus on anything else but reaching the final destination out of the spaceship design or what we have dubbed in our sponsor program as "Mission Accomplished".

Some choose to "Blast Off' by taking on the maze challenge solo, while others collaborate strategies for expediting their journey through the six-foot stalk pathways. Corporations and clubs use the maze as a team-building initiative. Older kids love the thrill and extreme challenge of the weekend flashlight nights, maneuvering their way in the dark.

"The maze is a bit more like a labyrinth this fall, making it an extra challenge for people to get through", Mike Marini, owner operator, explained. Additionally, Marini's maze is intended to help children learn something while they are getting lost.

More than just a maze, "Space Exploration 2012" offers many benefits, including:
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Confidence-building
  • Strategy development
  • Adventure and interactive fun
  • Educational experience designed this year to teach about the solar system and space exploration
  • Health and exercise
  • Quality family bonding
  • Community involvement and presence
Most importantly, the corn maze is a fall carnival of fun for all ages. Other family activities include:
  • Giant slide
  • Apple cannon
  • Pumpkin patch
  • Mini-maze for toddlers with five interactive stations
  • Jumping pillow
  • Corn cannon
  • Campfires with s'mores
  • Hayrides
  • Parties
  • Corn Maze Cafe
  • Pumpkin shopping
This year, make "Space Exploration" at Marini Farm Corn Maze your destination and see how quickly you can maneuver through the challenging space mission! You will experience a new planet of fun!

Written by Blogger Pros

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flashlight Nights Are Here!

Every year, Marini Farm Corn Maze features Flashlight Nights on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 pm to 10 pm - starting, this year, on September 21st and continuing through the end of October.

Our 10 acre corn maze can be a challenge in daylight, but at night, guided only by your flashlight and perhaps the moon and stars, the challenge can't be beat!

Speaking of the moon and stars, our Space Exploration corn maze theme this year might give you a few hints to help you find your way. Tonight, sunset will be at 6:40 pm and the waxing crescent moon will set at 10:30 pm. A perfect night to try New England's best corn maze challenge.

Remember to bring your own flashlights and dress for the weather. The last ticket will be sold one hour before closing. If you would like to purchase advance tickets, you may do that here - remember to use coupon code PUMPKIN at checkout to receive a $1 discount on each Flashlight Night ticket

Thursday, September 20, 2012

GPS Mapping the Creation of a Corn Maze

The creation of the Marini Farm Corn Maze is a family affair! A fun activity during the Marini family Christmas gatherings is to brainstorm on new corn maze themes for the upcoming season. With this year being the anniversary of the first American in space, it was a unanimous decision among all family members to select "Space Exploration" as the 2012 corn maze theme.

Once the design is confirmed each year, the farm hires Maize Quest from Newark, PA, a professional maze designer, to plan a maze that addresses all ages and challenge levels. The designer's objective is to "make the corn maze more than just a walk in the stalks". Safety, efficiency and making the maze entertaining - from the entrance to exit points - are key areas of focus in the design development process.

This time of the year you can see aerial views of intricate corn maze masterpieces all over the region. The production behind the creation of the corn maze is fascinating. The ten acres of corn for the maze were planted on June 18, 2012, so this is a completely different operation than the corn crop planted for sale to the public. The corn for the maze is actually different, as a taller and stronger strength stalk is needed to withstand tough weather conditions and heavy maze traffic. They plant silage corn which is also used by Ipswich Ale Brewery for beer, as feed for Colby Farms' pigs and as biomass to heat the greenhouses.

How is the corn maze cut?

Many may envision a fleet of tractors all working on a separate section of the maze to get to the finished product. Surprisingly, once designed, the maze creation is a one-person operation with a professional maze engineer/cutter, a GPS (global positioning technology) and a tractor. The maze-cutting operator follows the GPS, and within six hours, the masterpiece is completed. Marini's Corn Maze is cut July 4 at which time the corn stalks are only inches high. Other steps in the process include composting, plowing, picking up rocks, fertilizing, harrowing, planting seeds, and irrigating.

This is the tenth year of the Marini Farm Corn Maze and each year the family wants to top the designs of prior years. Their biggest challenge has been weather-related issues as the corn maze is a crop and is subject to Mother Nature, which can cause flooding and muddy conditions.

Mike Marini, owner and operator of the farm, stated that their biggest success has been making the maze an interactive and entertaining experience for all age groups. They like to make the maze challenging, but do not want the visitors going in circles and getting overly confused. A strict safety policy, an experienced maze team, and a flag-tracking system keep the activity safe through all ten acres of fun. If maze visitors follow the clues, and do not take too many wrong turns, they can get throught the maze in about two hours. This is "agritainment" at its best!

Marini Farm's 2012 "Space Exploration" sponsors include: BLAST OFF 1 - Mission Accomplished (sponsor - Shaw's Supermarkets); BLAST OFF 2 - Discovery (sponsors - Brookwood School, Pomodori Pizza and Ipswich Dairy Queen); BLAST OFF 3 - Enterprise (sponsors - Pingree School, Ithaki Restaurant, Ipswich Ale Brewery, The 1646 Hart House Restaurant, and Honda North); and the ASTRONAUT level (Ipswich Butchery, Winfrey's Fudge, Stone Soup Restaurant, and The First National Bank of Ipswich).

And, in next week's blog, "More Than Just a Corn Maze", we are going to share information about more fun activities going on around the farm and helpful clues about this year's corn maze.

Written by Blogger Pros.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Campfire Stories Return To The Corn Maze

On Saturday, October 13, 2012 well-known New England story-teller Tony Toledo returns to Marini Farm to delight all ages with spooky tales of the season.

The evening will begin with a hayride to the site of the camp fire and as the flames lick the darkness, the stories will unfold.

Everyone should dress warmly - it's a mid-October night in New England! If you wish, you can arrive early and make the Corn Maze a part of your adventure.

Tickets may be purchased here

Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Marini Farm and Marini Corn Maze are proud to become sponsors of Spookley the Square Pumpkin. October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Spookley is the "Official Spokes-Pumpkin".

Spookley is a unique pumpkin that delivers a special message of tolerance and kindness that is just right for fall...and any time of year.
  • Spookley was first introduced to millions of children in the book The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin in which he is shunned by all of the round pumpkins until a mighty storm threatens to destroy the entire pumpkin patch and only Spookley, with his unique shape, can save the day.
  • The success of The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin has led to the creation of a series of Spookley books and a #1 app for iTunes and Android, as well as a Spookley movie that airs on Disney Junior and in movie theaters across the country every fall.
  • Spookley is now a featured attraction at a growing network of pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and fall festivals across North America.
Educators can download free Spookley-themed activity sheets and lesson plans here

We are delighted to be partnering with Spookley, PACER and farms across the country to raise awareness for bullying prevention.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Plan A Corn Maze Party

Looking for a special place for a birthday party? An outing for your Scout Troop? Maybe a corporate team-building event? With over 10 miles of pathways and interactive games throughout the maze, this is the perfect site for an event that won't be forgotten!

We have designed a few party packages for you - or you can design your own.  All of the information is available here and you can fill out our Reservation Inquiry Form to check on availability.

Our Maze Adventure is just one of the many activities available for your party. There's the jumping pillow, the apple cannon, a party room, our pumpkin patch, hayrides and even campfires with s'mores.  Contact us soon - the dates fill quickly.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blast Off into the Learning Adventure of the “Space Exploration” Corn Maze

 In commemoration of the U.S. Space Program’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program, Marini Farm took great care in creating this year’s educational theme for its corn maze.

A special tribute is warranted here to one particular astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 spaceflight mission in July 1969—which was considered the boldest feat in aviation. As he stepped on the moon, his now famous quote, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” was heard around the world, with an estimated half-billion people listening to the climactic landing and watching a flickering video of the moonwalk. Armstrong passed away just last month (August 25) at the age of 82 in Cincinnati, Ohio of complications from blocked coronary arteries.

Here are some interesting Space Program facts:

  • This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first American in space and the 20th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescopes’ deployment.
  • The space shuttle is not just a mode of transport; it is a laboratory, too. 
  • The heaviest space shuttle orbiter, Columbia, weighed 178,000 pounds, roughly the weight of 13 African elephants.
  • Some of the peculiar objects flown into orbit during the shuttles include: the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rock from the top of Mount Everest.
  • NASA recently completed construction of the International Space Station and will conclude the Space Shuttle Program now that the final shuttle launch and return was successful.
 For fun, this year’s “Space Exploration” Marini Farm corn maze was designed to resemble the outline of an astronaut, a space ship and a map of the US.

The corn maze sponsorship program, introduced for the first time this year, also offered four levels of support, named after NASA space shuttles as follows: BLAST OFF 1-Mission Accomplished (sponsor—Shaw’s Supermarkets); BLAST OFF 2-Discovery (sponsors; Brookwood School, Pomodori Pizza and Ipswich Dairy Queen); BLAST OFF 3-Enterprise (sponsors; Ithaki Restaurant, Ipswich Brewery, Pingree School, The 1646 Hart House Restaurant, Honda North); and ASTRONAUT level (Ipswich Butchery, Winfrey’s Fudge, Stone Soup Restaurant and The First National Bank of Ipswich).

Marini Farm has considered education a big part of its corn maze program since its inception 10 years ago.

Open Sept. 8 through Oct. 31, the maze each week brings thousands of families and numerous school and scouting field trips to the farm to learn more about a variety of agricultural topics, including:

  • The way pumpkins and corn grow
  • The history of family-owned Marini Farm
  • The importance of corn to the farmers, their livestock, and the environment
  • The integral role bees play in farming.

In the next blog, “GPS Mapping The Creation of a Corn Maze,” we are going to share more educational inside tips about the design and cutting process of the maze.

Written by Blogger Pros.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun Facts About Marini Farm Corn Maze

Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of our corn maze that runs this year from September 8th through October 31st, Marini Farm is excited to share with you some fun facts.

To begin with, each year our corn maze has a unique educational theme that brings schools, clubs, scouting troops and thousands of families to our farm each week throughout the season.  This year, our theme is “Space Exploration,” featuring a 10-acre field designed to resemble the outline of an astronaut, a space shuttle, and a US map.

For the time ever, this year we invited local businesses to support our corn maze educational adventure.  Our 13 sponsors include: Shaw’s Supermarkets, Brookwood School, Pingree School, The 1646 Hart House, Ithaki Restaurant, Honda North, Ipswich Brewery, Pomodori Pizza, Ipswich Dairy Queen, Ipswich Butchery, Winfrey’s Fudge, Stone Soup Restaurant, and First National Bank of Ipswich.

The goal is to make the maze more challenging and diverse each year.  For example, this year a central meeting area was created, within only a few pathways of the entrance.

As you explore the maze, keep these facts in mind: 

  • Celebrating “a year of 10s,” Marini Farm has one of the largest corn mazes in Massachusetts at 10 acres and 10 miles of pathways, and this is the 10th year anniversary for the maze 
  • The average time to get through the maze is two hours, with the best time recorded time of one hour. 
  •  Numerous stations are strategically placed throughout the maze—and a game sheet with clues of how to maneuver through the maze is given to visitors before entering the corn pathways. 
  •  Safety is a priority, with numerous spotter flags located throughout to help people maneuver and get some directional help.  A manned lookout bridge is also located in the middle of the maze to offer assistance. 
  •  The maze is for all ages, with fun activities including a mini-maze for toddlers, jumping pillow, corn cannon, build-your-own-scarecrow, pumpkin patch, play center and hay rides. 
  •  More than 25,000 visitors a year come to the Marini Farm corn maze. 
  •  The maze has two special “doggy days” --September 8 and 9-- where dogs on leashes allowed free admission accompanied by a paying adult. A portion of the sales proceeds on these two days will benefit the Ipswich Humane Group Animal Shelter. 
  •  For an added challenge—which is a particular hit for teenagers—the maze hosts “flashlight nights” starting Sept. 21st (every Fri./Sat. night) 6-10 PM. 
  •  Marini Farm’s corn maze typically takes six hours to cut, with preparations commencing four months ahead. This year, planting began on June 10th and the maze was cut on July 5th. 

We will be telling more about the design and the making of the corn maze in our upcoming blogs.

Written by Blogger Pros.