2010-10-07 / Front Page

RU ready to get lost?

Von Thun Farm’s corn maze based on Rutgers U. football theme
BY SAM SLAUGHTER
Staff Writer
‘RU ready to get lost and have fun?” the Von Thun Farm’s website asks.

Nicole Elmendorf (l) of Milltown and daughter Megan make their way through the corn maze at Von Thun Farm in Monmouth Junction on Saturday. Nicole Elmendorf (l) of Milltown and daughter Megan make their way through the corn maze at Von Thun Farm in Monmouth Junction on Saturday. This year, the Von Thun Farm has created a 5-acre cornfield maze based on a Rutgers University football theme.

Maze-goers will be able to navigate their way around a football helmet, an outline of New Jersey, as well as the slogan ‘Keep Choppin’.’

“We go to the football games and we work with the Rutgers agricultural program, so we thought it would be a nice tie-in,” Bob Von Thun said.

“The design is neat,” Mayor Frank Gambatese said. “We’re centrally located between Rutgers and Princeton, so it’s really neat to see this.”

This is the third year that Von Thun has created a themed maze. Last year the maze was created around the theme “Brothers helping brothers” and featured firefighter designs to navigate.

Above: Visitors enjoy a hayride during fall activities at Von Thun Farm in Monmouth Junction on Saturday. Bottom right: John Moran of Woodbridge has a pumpkin that tips the scales at 50 pounds at Von Thun Farm. PHOTOS BY SCOTT FRIEDMAN Above: Visitors enjoy a hayride during fall activities at Von Thun Farm in Monmouth Junction on Saturday. Bottom right: John Moran of Woodbridge has a pumpkin that tips the scales at 50 pounds at Von Thun Farm. PHOTOS BY SCOTT FRIEDMAN “People have really liked the designs the last couple of years,” Von Thun said.

The Von Thun Farm has been open since 1913, spanning five generations of Von Thuns.

“[Von Thun Farm] is an important part of our community,” said township spokesman Ron Schmalz. “Von Thun was one of the first farmers to become involved in farmland preservation in the area.”

The Von Thuns also engage the community in a number of different learning opportunities, so that younger generations can both learn about farming itself and the importance that farming played in the South Brunswick community, especially before the community began to change into a more residential one, Gambatese said.

Creating the maze is a multimonth effort. In late June, the Von Thuns begin by planting the entire field. They then discuss possible designs with another company, who creates the map of the maze.

When the corn is about 2 inches high, chemicals are used to burn off the corn in the pathways. The corn maze then grows in the correct pattern over the summer and into the fall, being tall enough by the end of September.

When entering the maze this year, participants can choose a number of different methods to successfully navigate through.

First, passports will be available to all those who enter. These passports will have questions on them that, if answered correctly, will yield the correct way to turn.

For those who want a little more help, there will be “CORNundrums” around the maze, according to the website. These will provide plays on words and can be used as landmarks within the maze.

Finally, fully embracing technology, Von Thun has established “corn texting” for the maze. Corn texts will send hints directly to a cell phone as one navigates the maze.

“Corn texting is the newest in MAiZE technology,” the website proclaims.

Each weekend the farm holds a number of other activities.

“There’s plenty of fun for all ages. Everyone can have a good time,” Von Thun said.

There are hayrides, pumpkin picking, sand art, face painting and much more for kids and adults alike.

The maze will be open to get lost in through Halloween. In the final weekend, there will be a nighttime maze option open to the public, where people can navigate the maze by only the moonlight.

Von Thun’s Country Farm Market is located at 505 Ridge Road in Monmouth Junction. For directions or information, visit www.vonthunfarms. com or call 732-329-8656.

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