MERIDIAN, Idaho — A corn maze and farm festival in southwestern Idaho that attracts major media attention is in the national news again.
A recent CNN article about the The Farmstead Corn Maze & Pumpkin Festival focused on the maze’s Pac-Man design.
Farmstead maze designs that have attracted national media attention in past years include the likenesses of Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama during election year, Abraham Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty and comedian Jimmy Fallon.
But as nice as it is to be picked up by major media outlets such as USA Today, Time magazine, the “Today Show” and “Good Morning America,” Farmstead owner Jim Lowe said he actually cares more about teaching urban people a little bit about agriculture.
“In our attractions, we try to integrate a farm theme or some education about agriculture,” Lowe said. “One of the things that is important to us is to be true to who we are, which is a farm.”
Meridian is Idaho’s fastest-growing city. Its population has grown from 35,000 in 2000 to 75,000 in 2010 and an estimated 96,000 today. It borders Boise, Idaho’s largest city, and Nampa, the state’s third-largest city.
Lowe said it’s important to teach urban folks about agriculture and the important role it plays in the state’s economy.
“People are pretty receptive to that when it’s worked right into a fun environment like it is here,” he said.
The Farmstead, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors, is also making efforts to teach people a little about Idaho agriculture. Several attractions tie in with major Idaho farm commodities.
That includes a bee-themed zip line called the Bee Line, which includes trivia facts about bees and honey, a Famous Idaho Potato sack slide and an apple blaster that lets people shoot apples at a target.
Those attractions are sponsored by the commodities’ respective commissions.
There is also a trout fishing pond, which is a nod to the fact Idaho is the nation’s top trout-producing state.
Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir said his group was happy to fund the creation of the potato sack slide.
“I love the fact that Idaho corn is promoting Idaho potatoes,” he said, noting the two go well together in a meal. “To me, they are perfect.”
Muir said he also likes the fact that the Farmstead concentrates so heavily on educating people about agriculture.
“I think it’s great that they embrace that,” he said. “It helps young kids understand where their food comes from and connect to agriculture.”
Rick Waitley, executive director of the Idaho Honey Industry Association, told Capital Press in an email that his group “saw the Farmstead as an opportunity to tell the story of honey production and pollination to the general public.”