If there were any lingering doubts, news that the Bose family corn maze is open for the season provides indisputable proof that Summer 2011 has well and truly arrived.
Operated by the Bose family – Mike, Novy, Kevin and Matthew – the maze covers 17 sprawling acres at 64 Avenue and 156 Street, and is a popular attraction, drawing visitors from Surrey and across the Lower Mainland.
It’s a favourite with families, school trips, teens and corporate retreats. It’s even played host to weddings, fashion shoots, plus TV and film productions.
The (normally) spectacular stalks – planted to form an elaborate design each year – are known to reach heights of 12 feet or more.
One season, the corn grew to 16 feet, a family record.
But thanks to a late spring – and a late start in some sections that were still under water in early July – this year’s corn has only now surpassed six feet high, and may not grow higher than 9 or 10 feet by season’s end in October.
“But you never know, Mother Nature may give us a beautiful fall this year and make up for the cold and wet spring,” Mike Bose says.
Sunny weather in the last couple of weeks has been very good for the corn, which can grow up to four inches a day.
Corn is a desert plant. It likes sun in the day, but would love rain or fog at night, he says. A generous downpour from the skies on Aug. 22 provided much-needed water.
The maze designs themselves (visible only from above) are always worth noting. The 2010 maze recognized the contribution of Surrey’s agricultural sector, spelling out, “Support your farmer, buy local.”
This year’s maze honours the 99th CFL Grey Cup, to be hosted in Vancouver.
The maze boasts other attractions: a hay jump, sandbox, slides for the kids, pumpkin patch, plus a fire pit for roasting marshmallows at dusk. The family also sells red, white and russet potatoes on site. The sweet corn should be ready in early September.
“It’s been a challenging year for farmers, but somehow we managed to get it done. Especially for us,” Mike says, referring to his close-knit family, and alluding to his recent health scare.
This winter, he underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery just as his team, the Cloverdale Colts Midget A1 hockey team, was headed for the provincials.
A Cloverdale Minor Hockey veteran with 22 seasons under his belt, Mike, barely home from hospital, was determined to support his underdog team.
He watched from the stands as the players – wearing heart-shaped badges on their jerseys and sporting blue Mohawks in honour of “Coach B” – fought their way to second place, losing the final game to Surrey.
It was a proud accomplishment for the hard-working team, which overcame numerous other obstacles along the way.
Half a year later, Bose is the picture of recovery, which he chalks up to his exercise program and his diet. He’s scrupulously avoiding excess sodium and fats.
The Boze Corn Maze opened a week or so later than last year, Aug. 13, and isn’t slated to close until Oct. 16, a week after Thanksgiving.
“The Farmer’s Almanac says our best month this year will be October,” Bose says.
Millions of residents on the southern B.C. coast hope he’s right.
– Hours of operation for the Bose Corn Maze are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m., Fridays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays and holiday Mondays from noon to 4 p.m.