Blount County farm honors late farmer’s legacy with corn maze

(source: Maple Lane Farms)
(source: Maple Lane Farms)

GREENBACK (WATE) – East Tennessee farms are starting their fall routines, stacking straw and in some cases putting the finishing touches on their corn fields, which will become mazes.

One farm in Blount County is celebrating the legacy of their late owner, Bob Schmidt, better known as Farmer Bob of Maple Lane Farms. Staff members say this fall is bittersweet and full of firsts, but they didn’t want the first fall without Farmer Bob to be without a corn maze.

There’s a formula in farming to get the perfect stalk of corn – months of planning, planting, and care need to be added together.

“It’s very near to my heart,” said Nick Brown, who has taken over operations at Maple Lane Farms.

Hearts are dimmer without Farmer Bob, who passed away last spring after suffering a stroke.

Previous story: Greenback community mourns death of Maple Lane Farms owner

“When the going gets tough, we all get going and we band together and we work through it,” said Brown.

Farmer Bob’s team worked through grief, deciding there was no better way to honor him than to design a corn maze in his likeness.

“I know he’s been with me a couple of times when I have some equipment breakdown or something goes wrong. Like planting the maze, we had some issues and it just came to me out of the blue what to do,” added Brown.

While this is the 17th year to wind through cornstalks, this maze is Brown’s favorite.

“This one really hits home,” he said. “He would love it I think. He loved the spotlight.”

Brown believes Farmer Bob would be proud of the work they’ve done through all these firsts.

“That’s why we’re doing it. He would tell us not to quit.”

The corn maze at Maple Lane Farms officially opens Friday, September 30, at 6 p.m. and runs through Halloween. The farm is also getting ready for country superstar Luke Bryan to come back and play in this year’s Farm Tour. The show takes place on October 6.

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