LEVANT, Maine — Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant has once again been nominated for the USA TODAY Best Corn Maze in the country.
This is the fifth year in a row the farm has been nominated.
"It is, I think, the dream that a lot of people have and a lot of people think, ‘Oh I'll just buy a piece of land and it will happen,' I mean this is the result of 40 years of hard work," Jon Kenerson said.
This year, the four-acre corn maze has been designed to look like a depiction of Winnie-the-Pooh. But what makes the maze particularly unique is how it's created: by hand.
"We still use old-fashioned surveying technology to do everything and it's all drawn by hand, laid out by hand, spray painted on the ground by hand, it's all old school," Kenerson said.
Kenerson is one of the current owners of the farm.
"Some farms you can have hired a company to come in with a GPS tractor and plant the maze, and we still do it ourselves," he added.
Kenerson married the daughter of the farm's original owners, Gary and Patty Treworgy. The couple purchased the land the farm sits on back in 1983. Kenerson, his brother, and their wives purchased the farm from them a few years ago.
"They bought this land and they planted some trees and they had this great vision of being able to have a place where people could come out and be together and harvest their own fruit," Kenerson said. "It was a rocky start. Everything [Treworgy] did died at first and he's like, 'We're probably not cut out to be farmers,' and, after some other odd jobs, they finally gave it a go again and in the mid-90s they started selling some apples and slowly we added different things."
The corn maze was added to the farm in 2001. Kenerson said it's the longest, continually running corn maze in the state.
Creating the corn maze itself takes a team. Kenerson helps out with the design, his brother is in charge of planting the corn, and Kenerson's good friend is in charge of the graphic designs seen on the tickets and advertising.
Once the corn is planted, Kenerson and his team wait just before the plant germinates, or pops up. That's when they lay down the lines for the design with spray paint.
"Once it starts to germinate, we just take a little lawn tractor with a piece of steel behind it and drag out the corn to kind of uproot the corn where the trails are and that's it," Kenerson said. "It sounds easy but it's hard."
This year, there are six stations within the maze for people to find. Each station includes a Winnie-the-Pooh-related trivia question. If you guess the right answer, a honeypot is revealed on the scratch ticket given to participants at the start of the maze. Those who answer each question correctly get a free ice cream cone.
Kenerson said he hopes one of the 10 children between the two families will take over the farm one day. His oldest daughter has already expressed interest in carrying on the tradition.
"They're already helping out and they do not take for granted where they're growing up. They love working here, they love the variety of things they are able to learn and do, so, I would be surprised if none of them wanted to continue in this," Kenerson said. "I would love to see them go away, get some education, see the world, and then come back bringing something more to it so that it can grow beyond where we've taken it."
The winner of the USA TODAY 2022 Best Corn Maze will be announced on the USA TODAY 10Best website at noon on Friday.