Family farm hopes corn maze draw agri-tourists

By Jason Wheeler, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012

How much do you know about the food you pick up at your local grocery store?

One farming family in Flagler County aims to teach about agriculture in an “a-mazing” way.

Just beyond the sunflowers and the pumpkins growing on the Cowart Ranch and Farms, as cars and trucks race by along Highway 100 in western Flagler County, is a 6-acre patch of sorghum.

Farmers normally use it between cash crops.

But you've got to get a little higher in the air to see what this field reveals.

It's a first for Flagler County -- a crop maze which is about ready for the public.

Yet, it is far from fun and games for the Cowart family.

They want to turn a visit to the maze into an educational trip.

“I think that there's a lot of people that really want to see what's going on with the farms and want to get outside and get their kids attached to the land,” said Brittany Cowart.

According to a 2009 University of Florida study, agriculture creates more than 25 percent of the jobs in Flagler County and brings in a quarter billion dollars in revenue.

Those are figures often ignored by those in city centers.

These mazes are part of a new term in tourism in Florida called agri-tourism.

But once the Cowarts began researching what agri-tourism was all about, they realized they've been doing it for years without the maze.

“My dad, when he did the blueberries, the you-pick operation that he had, where people would come and pick their own berries was an agri-tourism operation,” said Brittany.

The maze opens Oct. 5.

Time is running out for the Cowarts to get it ready for potential crowds.

Cowart's boyfriend, Dalton Kinney, stays busy trying to work on the to-do list.

“The list doesn't look that big, but when it comes down to it, there's still quite a bit of stuff that needs to be done. But we're going to get it done. We'll get it done,” said Kinney.

Admission to the Crop Maze and Fall Festival at Cowart Ranch and Farms is $9 per person. Children 4 and under are free.