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Sunflowers, cosmos and lavender ready for the picking in Hartville

Maize Valley Farm's pick-your-own flower fields are full of bright colors you can take home.

HARTVILLE, Ohio — A world without color, only shades of gray.

Thank goodness that's not reality.

The fields are filling with blooms at Maize Valley Winery & Craft Brewery in Stark County. Co-owner Michelle Bakan says it's prime time to pick.

"The cosmos, zinnias and sunflowers are all just starting to bloom," she gushed.

It's transforming this part of Maize Valley farm into a sea of color. Add the aroma from row upon row of lavender, and it's a feast for the senses, all of which you can take home.

"They come back into the market and we're like, 'Oh, did you have fun?'" Bakan said. "They say, 'Oh my God, it was so beautiful out there,' and they come back with a big bouquet of flowers."

The blooms are mixed, some yellow here, ruddy orange there, white, red, pink. The 12 varieties of sunflowers stand tall, and they'll bloom over time, some earlier like now and some later through August.

There's a method to Maize Valley's multicolored madness. Just ask co-owner Bill Bakan.

"I'm trying a lot of new cropping ideas out here," he told us. "Regenerative agriculture, some no till planting, and I'm trying to make flowers apply to that."

However they planted, it's turned out beautifully. People are perusing the prodigious blooms, picking from the passel of petals that point to the sun, carrying home a bundle of color and a batch of memories as well.

"That's part of what we do," Michelle said. "We're a people business. We want people to come out and have a good time, and if flowers are what it takes to make them happy, then by golly, we're going to plant flowers."


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