You won't find corn maze

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

It's kind of difficult to get lost in a field of 3-foot-high corn.

So the family that runs Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala took one look at their wilted and pathetic crop and had to face it: There would be no elaborate corn maze this fall.

A really wet June and a terribly dry July made sure of that.

"It's always been so much fun for us, but this is really about the community. It's too bad for them," said Mitch Lynd, one of the farm's owners. "We really regret it."

The crop grown for mazes isn't handled the same way as corn for harvesting. In order to have it tall, green and leafy in October -- when most people visit the farms -- the corn for a maze must be planted about the third week of June.

Usually, that late planting works. This year, it didn't.

After the corn went in, the Lynd farm received one soaking rain to drench the roots then not much else. It simply wasn't enough.

The corn is green as it should be. It's just short. It needs to be 10 or 12 feet tall by the fall, when well more than 10,000 people trek through the maze.

Without the money generated from those admissions, Lynd also will have to suspend a host of popular children's activities: straw tunnels and a sliding board, a pile of shelled corn for jumping into, and games.

The wagon rides that the farm is noted for will continue.

When it comes to corn planted just for fun, some got luckier than others.

Randy Rausch runs The Maize at Little Darby Creek in southern Union County. For the first time in the seven years since he opened the maze, he had to water it this year with sprinklers.

"That's just crazy," he said.

After he planted the corn in late June, his farm got 4 inches of rain one day, then another 4 inches not long after. "Then, it just shut off like a faucet, and everything dried up," he said.

That means some of the growth was stunted, and some leaves low on the stalks turned brown.

The bad spots were few, though, so he's carrying on. His field this year boasts a rendering of a koala bear and Jack Hanna, the director emeritus who is celebrating his 30-year anniversary with the Columbus Zoo.

"A few brown leaves at the bottom won't stop it from being awesome," Rausch said.