By Robyn Roste (a friend of Mrs. Abbotsford)
Just like everyone else in Abbotsford, on July 14 I was shocked at the news of the fire at Maan Farms. Feeling helpless but wanting to do something I ventured out to the farm armed with my sunscreen, notepad, and camera.
I expected the mood to be sombre—or at the very least a bit sad—so was surprised to see a bustling farm stand and cheerful faces upon arriving. Owner Devinder Maan proceeded to list the many exciting projects the farm is re-launching August 1, such as birthday parties, wagon tours, and the petting zoo.
Although the fire was unexpected and heart breaking, the family is taking the opportunity to focus on the positives.
As we stood chatting, Devinder’s son Amir arrived from their strawberry fields and toured me around the five acre Wizard Of Oz inspired corn maze also set to open August 1.
Walking through the nine-foot stalks I was struck by how thick the corn was. As we ventured deeper, Amir described the six-month process of building the maze. This includes choosing the right seeds, using a two-row planting system (for density), designing the maze, and uprooting stalks when they’re knee-high to create pathways.
I had no idea. Before this moment I imagined people created corn mazes on a whim by cutting through with giant scythes, which isn’t realistic I know but this is how urban I am.
This is not the farm’s only corn maze. Kitty-corner to the Wizard of Oz maze sits a 10-acre cornfield, which will become a haunted corn maze come autumn. I can’t imagine going into one of these places at night, let alone a haunted one. I looked around in case there was someone hiding in the corn but it was too thick to tell for sure.
Amir, who is completing his bachelor of business administration for agricultural management at UFV, said his family’s farming philosophy is “experience tourism.” He explained they want everyone who visits the farm to have a country experience. I suppose they meet a lot of neighbours like me.
Thirty minutes later we emerged from the maze where I saw a pumpkin patch, a strawberry field, and the remains of the Maan Farms barn.
Amir said the life of a is farmer unpredictable, competitive, and different every day. To succeed you must be a jack of all trades, a creative problem solver, and able to manage crises. But the fire. This had to be so much worse.
“The fire was unexpected and devastating to my family, but it was just another day.” As Amir spoke his face was resolute. “We will rebuild bigger and better—with a new twist.”
The Wizard of Oz inspired corn maze will feature games, educational posts, and family-friendly fun. The $7 admission includes corn maze, children’s play area, and petting zoo.
Maan Farms Country Experience is part of the Circle Farm Tour.
Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.