You can grow it, husk it, and cook it with a quick boil or barbecue, but Oxford is also creating a whole lot of family fun with corn.
It’s corn maze season in the region, and the competitors are getting ready. The hot temperatures that made July and August so sweaty are welcomed by the long rows of corn stalks.
“Corn loves heat, so that’s been good, but it’s been kind of dry this summer. It wasn’t really until this month that we got a lot of rain. They’re just growing so tall,” said Kaitlyn Benjamin as she walked through the maze – for the first time this season – at Leaping Deer Adventure Farm in Ingersoll.
Benjamin’s been working at the farm since April, and she said kids have been having a ball since this year’s weather-themed maze opened.
The Sentinel-Review took a jaunt through the shorter, family-friendly maze and met up with Marg and Ernie Jordan, from Stratford, exploring the paths with their three grandkids.
Six-year-old Charlotte MacDonald, from Rostock, Ont., said she didn’t think the maze would be too challenging. Her secret to finding the exit is to simply follow her nose.
“Pick a path,” she said when asked for her tips. Her four-year-old brother Rory was more apt to side with his grandma, who advised going through the maze before the heat of the day strikes.
“I’m feeling a little sweaty,” he said with a sigh.
At the Rettie Farm in Norwich, the maze is chugging along. It opens Sept. 10. There’s not much for Lori and John Rettie to do at this point but wait.
“From the outside it looks ok,” Lori said with a laugh. “I know my husband was saying he’s a little worried about how uneven it is. I don’t know whether with this rain it will come back.”
Both farms have the mechanics of the corn maze down to a science, using a GPS system to cut the paths into the maze.
Benjamin said the maze at Leaping Deer is challenging, but luckily no one has gotten lost yet this year.
And there’s lots for families to enjoy outside the maze, too.
Jaxon Smith, 5, and three-year-old sister Paislie McCarthy climbed atop a massive stack of hay bales on Friday, and campers from London shrieked with delight aboard the Corn Cob Express.
Driver Charlie Smith said the ride around the property is always popular.
“They have a wonderful time, always saying that they want to go again,” he said.
But the corn maze is usually the top priority, Benjamin said. "Families and kids, they’re usually right into the corn maze, trying to find everything," she said.
"Hearing them come back in the store, they’re so excited."