Minnesota and Pennsylvania might not have been at the top of any cannabis lover's road-trip bucket list. But hemp mazes could put them on the map as a destination for summer and fall.
And they're not just for those who dream of getting lost in a field of green. For people less steeped in the nuances of cannabis culture, hemp mazes are a fun introduction to the plant and the wide variety of ways it can be used.
Minnesota: Hemp Maze Minnesota
Inside the maze at Hemp Maze Minnesota, signs educate visitors about the hemp grown on site. Founder Ted Galaty, a former corn farmer, is on a mission to inform the public about the benefits of a thriving hemp industry in the state. Hence the motto ,“Hemp, hemp, hooray!”
The farm is educational from the in-person experience to posts on the Facebook page, which detail varieties of hemp from China and Italy. Even the website shares the history of hemp production, going back more than 4,000 years.
Opening a hemp farm to the public and educating people about hemp’s history and uses — which range from home construction to the wellness industry — can also help assuage any potential worries about what exactly is being grown there.
A Wisconsin hemp maze changed perceptions this way before closing in 2020. In 2019 the farm’s owner, Tyler Leatherberry, told the Baraboo News Republic he wanted to teach people that hemp plants are genetically different from strains of cannabis grown for THC. “I wanted to educate the public on what hemp is about,” he said. “They all think we are growing pot.” (Unfortunately, Leatherberry Acres closed its hemp maze in 2020 — possibly for good, according to a post on the farm's Facebook page.)
Hemp Maze Minnesota is fully licensed and grows hemp for fiber, seed and CBD oil.
The maze, part of Willow’s Keep Farm near Zumbrota (between the Twin Cities and Rochester), is open from early July to the end of October. In addition to the maze, Galaty offer hemp farm tours. See the website for details.
Pennsylvania: Cedar Meadow Adventure Maze
This four-acre hemp maze in Central Pennsylvania teaches visitors about hemp and regenerative farming methods.
Regenerative farming is all about rebuilding soil and biodiversity, so think "organic" and then some. Steve Groff, owner of Cedar Meadow Farm in Holtwood, doesn’t till his soil, reports Penn Live Patriot-News.
Groff, an advocate for soil health, has been working to improve farming methods for almost 30 years, and says his farm has some of the most nutrient-rich soil in the world.
“We’re regenerating the soil back to its original properties and crop rotation or having diverse species within the rotation is important to grow healthy food,” Groff told the Patriot-News. “It’s just a fact of nature. We’re trying to mimic nature.”
Groff spent his first two years as a hemp farmer growing CBD-rich strains, then started growing hemp for fiber. Realizing that many people didn’t know the variety of uses for industrial hemp — which can become paper, clothing, even housing insulation — he thought a hemp maze could help bridge the gap.
“We’ve all heard of corn mazes,” he told the Patriot-News. “They’ve been popular for the last 20 years or so. I thought this would be a great way to help the public better understand all the good things that this crop has to offer. […] We want to demonstrate and help people understand why this is essential for agriculture for the future.”
Cedar Meadow Adventures also offers pick-you-own pumpkins, squash, gourds and sunflowers, and is open weekends until the end of October. See the website for details.