21661 Staley Rd. Paris, IL 61944 Google Map (217)-275-3491
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Posted 11/8/2019 8:00am by L&A Family Farms.

Letha Augustus passed away Friday, November 1, 2019, a few days after celebrating her 102nd birthday. Letha was Brian and Kevin’s grandma and Valerie, Everett, Jess, and Tim’s great-grandma.

Grandma Augustus will always be remembered by the L&A Family Farms families and staff. While we've always had her support, here are some of the instances of her direct involvement with the farm over our past 15 years of operation.

One of the earliest memories takes us back to the start of our business. L&A Family Farms was established in 2004, and we began selling our products at farmers markets in Paris and Terre Haute. Grandma Augustus’ house was the Saturday morning hangout for Everett, Jess, and Tim as they were too little at the time to help at the markets.

In 2006, we began raising meat chickens. We would raise multiple batches of about 200 birds per batch in the summer, and after 7-8 weeks, they were taken to the USDA-inspected processor in Arthur, Ill. In our final batch of 2007, we had a few chickens that were too small to go to the processor. We held them back and decided we would butcher them at home for personal use once they grew a little more. Grandma Augustus was instrumental in the process since she butchered countless chickens over the course of her life.

On butchering day, Grandma and crew converted her basement to get ready. The old propane stove was suited with big pots to boil water to scald the chickens, cleaning dirt off the feathers once the they had been killed. After scalding, the chickens needed to be plucked. Like a pro, Grandma took charge and demonstrated to the rest of the crew how to remove the feathers and then put the chicken over a fire to singe the hair off. After that, it was on to cleaning and cutting the chickens, which Grandma was also a pro. Keep in mind, at the time, Grandma had just celebrated her 90th birthday … and she could still butcher chickens without missing a beat.

Grandma plucking a chicken (left) and cleaning/cutting it after being singed (right)

Another way Grandma helped the L&A crew was at harvest time. If the weather allowed, everything was go-go-go on the farm to get as many acres harvested in a day as possible, so, especially during corn harvest, that often meant lunch in the field. Grandma and Brian’s mom, Doris, were the ones in the kitchen making sandwiches, bagging veggies, baking cookies, and throwing an assortment of goodies in lunch bags to be dispersed amongst the harvest crew. – While food is being brought up, Grandma was an excellent cook, from main courses to dessert. She always ensured her family was well-fed and provided a big spread for gatherings.

Once the farm got into the egg business, Grandma Augustus took on another role for the farm. If you’ve purchased a dozen of our eggs, you’ll find two labels that we print and put on the carton. Doris (Brian’s mom) and Grandma became the designated egg carton labelers for the farm, a job typically done once a week – and quite often, on short notice. Grandma would peel the labels off the sheet and hand them to Doris who would put them on the carton. Even after recovering from a broken hip and pneumonia, it was a job Grandma took very seriously and always looked forward to doing. Anytime she would see a stack of egg cartons appear in her breezeway, she’d be quick to ask, “Is it time to do more egg cartons?”

One of the biggest memories to recall is one that we planned for Grandma Augustus to show her how much her love and support meant to us at L&A Family Farms. When planning for our second sunflower maze in 2017, we decided to honor Grandma who would turn 100 in October. The design was crafted in early June, but it was kept a secret from Grandma until we got it cut in the field. We finally revealed the design to Grandma and brought her down to the maze for a photoshoot. Later in the season, she even made a couple appearances at the store and visited with maze-goers.

As aptly put in her obituary, “Letha was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother,” who “will be remembered by her faith, excellent cooking, and sense of humor.” We will cherish the memories of Grandma forever in our hearts and hope she knew just how much she meant to us.

To see Grandma’s full obituary, click here.

Posted 10/13/2019 12:00am by L&A Family Farms.

Earlier this summer, we announced we would be expanding our business to include fall activities to continue the legacy of Pumpkin Works, which closed last year after providing family fun and memories here in southeastern Edgar County for 26 years.

In September, a news report implying that we would be taking over the popular Pumpkin Works business was published and circulated on social media. The report was corrected, but a lot of confusion remains.

To clear up that confusion, here are the details surrounding our business and Pumpkin Works:

- L&A Family Farms does offer many of the same fall family fun activities that Pumpkin Works used to offer. You can find more details on those activities here.

- There are no fall activities held at the Pumpkin Works location along the Lower Terre Haute Road.

- All of our fall activities are based from our store location, 21661 Staley Road, Paris, IL (which is just a few miles from Pumpkin Works).

- Pumpkin Works is permanently CLOSED, and its owners are enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

 

If you have any questions, please call us at (217)-275-3491 or send an email to lafamilyfarms@gmail.com.

CONTACT PAGE  |  FALL ACTIVITIES LINKDIRECTIONS TO THE FARM

Posted 7/16/2019 9:00am by L&A Family Farms.

The Daily Briefing has what you need to know about the sunflower maze each day - a daily picture, the weather forecast, special events, and more! Be sure to keep this page bookmarked for the latest! 


 

SUNFLOWER MAZE UPDATE

 

The sunflower mazes are done blooming for the 2019 season. For more information on the sunflower maze to plan ahead for next year, click here.

 

While the sunflower maze is over, we're still The Place to Bee for fall activities, including a corn maze, hayrides, bonfires, pumpkin patch, and more! Find more details on those activities here.

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Reminder: The farm is only open WEEKENDS for the fall season.

 

WEATHER FORECAST -

High: -- | --

 

 

DON'T FORGET TO SIGN YOUR WAIVER!

Our insurance company is requiring all visitors to read our farm safety rules and sign a liability waiver. We HIGHLY recommend filling out the waiver online before you get to the farm to save time at admission!

 

 

If you have any questions about the maze, please contact us.

Posted 7/3/2019 5:00pm by L&A Family Farms.

We've had to make some changes for the 2019 season. Our insurance company is now requiring all farm visitors to read our farm safety rules and sign a liability waiver. Those who are under the age of 18 can have their waivers signed by an adult. Visitors who do not sign the waiver will not be able to participate in any activities on the premises.

We're trying to streamline the process as much as possible. We've set up an electronic form that can be signed online before you even come to the farm. We highly recommend filling out and signing the document before you get to the farm so you can avoid lines during admission.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN YOUR WAIVER NOW

We will have tablets on-site for you to fill out the forms, and there will also be QR codes on the information board that you can scan with your phone (if you have service on the farm) that'll take you to the form.

Visitors who have already filled out and signed their waivers just need to inform one of our staff members they've done so, and we'll check to make sure it's in our database.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but hope the process runs as smoothly as possible and helps ensure the safety of our visitors as they enjoy their time on the farm!

Posted 6/10/2019 9:00am by L&A Family Farms.

Our first Nature on the Farm Discovery Camp left us with a great experience and more ideas!

Day one we dug in the woods to see what we could find in the soil. We poured water on clay, sand and gravel to see which drained best. Then we hiked to the creek bluff to see where the soil and water goes when it rains and how it erodes. We tried rhubarb pie for our snack.

Then we hiked to the garden to see the rhubarb plants, and farm machinery. We returned to the store and got out the farm toys to see how they help farmers till, plant, and harvest. Finally, we used chalk to draw roads and fields on the cool concrete and drove our tractors and wagons on those to haul our crop of sunflower seeds.

Day two began with a demonstration of the egg machine. Lauren and Timothy showed us what happens to the eggs after they are gathered from the chickens. We helped sort out the really dirty ones on a tray for hand washing. Then we boarded the wagon and Brian drove us down the road to see the cows, 26 different chicken breeds, and catfish. We got to pet a chicken and feed the catfish!

After our mid-morning carrot snack, we read a book about how sunflowers grow and hiked to the garden to plant our own sunflower seeds. We sampled gooseberries from the garden. Then we returned to home base to work on our farm models.

Day three began by reviewing five main parts of plants. We cut out pictures of vegetables and fruits and glued them to paper. Then we hung them on the wall under the headings: "root" or "stem" etc. We looked at pictures of honeybees, important pollinators of sunflowers and pumpkins.  We passed around models of insects and discussed whether they were helpful or harmful to farmers. Then we used nets and jars to find real insects. A big dragonfly found one of us and landed on Mitchell's nose!

We fed the goats some fresh grass and painted our own version of sunflowers. Our final activity was applying our knowledge to escape being trapped outside the chicken house!

Thanks to our twelve campers for being part of our first farm camp experience!

Those interested in signing up for our next farm camps (before June 14th) can click here.

Posted 5/9/2019 2:00pm by L&A Family Farms.

If you have previously visited the farm, you probably know about or have even been across the low water crossing/slab on Staley Road near the farm.

It appears the days of the low water crossing are numbered, and that'll have an effect on accessing the farm this summer.

Crews have already cleared the area in preparation for summer construction. Officials are planning to build a bridge across Sugar Creek this summer, so that will keep Staley Road closed from the Lower Terre Haute Road.

In the meantime, to access the farm, you will need to take 2250th Street to get to Staley Road and the farm. L&A Family Farms roadside signs will help guide the way.

 

Click here to be taken to the directions page.

Posted 2/13/2019 5:00pm by L&A Family Farms.

     February 9th marked another big day for the L&A families as Brian and Andrea Lau’s (the L in "L&A") daughter, Valerie, married her boyfriend, Devyn, of nearly five years.          

     As many of you already know, Devyn’s proposal was highly publicized as he asked us to have the big question carved out in the first couple sections of sunflower mazes in 2018, drawing attention from local and even international media.

Click here to see UNILAD’s article.

     For those interested, here’s the inside story of how the proposal took shape in the sunflower fields…

     It all started almost a year ago when Devyn approached Brian about using the maze for his proposal. Supporting the idea, the secret stayed between the two of them until Valerie’s brother, Everett, was included into the secret in April to help the plans continue.

     The design idea maintained a very low profile between the three of them until June when a design had to be drawn so it could be cut into the maze before the plants grew too tall. Once Andrea drew the design on graph paper, the rest of the L&A crew learned of the proposal plans.

         

     As you’ll notice, the design on paper doesn’t match what would end up being the final product. Lauren, Everett, and Timothy started laying out the design and mowing the preliminary paths in the middle of June, but Mother Nature threw a wrench in the plans.

     There was a dry spell through the early part of June that kept the second planting of sunflowers from sprouting and growing in the sandy soil. That, combined with the plentiful and pesky deer in the area, led to spots that had few to no sunflowers that wouldn’t allow the words “WILL YOU” stand out in the maze, so they had to be scrapped from the design.

     Already prepared for a suspicious Valerie, a simple decoy design was drawn to ward off any demands to see the graph paper sketches. She didn’t buy the decoy, but she says she also didn’t anticipate the actual design.

     When we say suspicious, we mean it. Valerie had an idea that Devyn would propose sometime during the summer and thought it would be sunflower-related. Trying to find out what was happening on the farm, Valerie:

- asked numerous relatives what the design was (they all were told the decoy design)

- trekked through the maze in an attempt to solve the design from the ground

- attempted to use Google Maps to see an aerial view of the field (the image was two years old)

It even came to the point that Devyn had to change Everett’s name in his phone so Valerie wouldn’t be suspicious of any text messages.

     The secrecy finally paid off on July 7th when Valerie and Devyn came to the farm to help with opening day of the sunflower maze. Thinking they were just going to check out the maze, Valerie left with Devyn and other relatives to explore the maze, not expecting to come back engaged.

     Everett, posing to be taking photos of the sunflowers, brought the ring to Devyn, and shortly thereafter, Devyn popped the question at the end of the maze after showing Valerie the aerial photo below … and obviously she said yes!

Click here to see video of the proposal from the maze.   

       

     Just over seven months later, Valerie and Devyn exchanged their vows in front of family and friends at the Paris Presbyterian Church.

Congratulations again, Valerie and Devyn! We wish you the best!

Posted 6/19/2018 2:00pm by L&A Family Farms.

If you’ve been on the website recently, you’ve already noticed some of the changes we’re working on this summer here at L&A Family Farms. In addition to an updated website, we also have a new, updated logo!

The prominent red barn of the old logo, which represents our Grandpa and Grandma Augustus’s old homestead barn, remains a feature in the center of the new logo. Behind the barn, you will now find a sunflower since our sunflower mazes have become one of the most popular ways people recognize us. A few of the other additions/changes to the logo include giving it a more modern circular look, adding our location of Paris, Illinois, and listing our year of establishment.

In the coming weeks, you’ll start to see our new logo replacing the old one on labels (including egg cartons), brochures, invoices, and across social media. We are also still in the process of updating the website and adding some new information.

We hope you like the new changes, and even with the new look, you can expect the same quality and service you’ve gotten to know over the past 14 years with our products!

Posted 5/15/2018 10:00am by L&A Family Farms.

We're excited to be growing the sunflower maze once again in 2018, and we had so much fun last year that we have SIX different sections planned for this summer!

We were able to get in the field and plant the first section last Saturday (May 12), so it'll take approximately 60 days for those sunflowers to reach the blooming stage, pending weather conditions.

Our goal is to plant one of the remaining sections every two weeks, which will hopefully extend our season through most of the month of July and into August. Each section is roughly five acres, so they will be similar to last year's maze.

To stay up to date on the latest sunflower maze happenings and to keep track of when they'll be ready, be sure to visit our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages!

We will also be updating the maze timeline and providing additional information as it becomes available on the Sunflower Maze page.

Posted 10/17/2017 10:13pm by Brian Lau.

As many of you may remember, our theme for our summer sunflower maze was "Celebrating Grandma's 100th Birthday." Coming up quickly on Friday, October 27, it will be official, and our grandma, Letha Augustus, will be 100!

 

She has requested no gifts for her big day, but says cards would be appreciated. So, we would like your help in filling her mailbox with cards! If you are willing to send a card, please do so by mailing it to her at 21871 Staley Rd. Paris, IL 61944. We thank you for your support!

Remembering Grandma AugustusNovember 8th, 2019

Letha Augustus passed away Friday, November 1, 2019, a few days after celebrating her 102nd birthday. Letha was Brian and Kevin’s grandma and Valerie, Everett, Jess, and Tim’s great-grand

Addressing Confusion Surrounding Pumpkin WorksOctober 13th, 2019

Earlier this summer, we announced we would be expanding our business to include fall activities to continue the legacy of Pumpkin Works, which closed last year after providing family fun and

All Visitors Now Required to Sign Liability WaiversJuly 26th, 2019

We've had to make some changes for the 2019 season. Our insurance company is now requiring all farm visitors to read our farm safety rules and sign a liability waiver. Those who are under the age of 1

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