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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 7/7/2018 9:00am by L&A Family Farms.

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

 


 

SUNFLOWER MAZE UPDATE -

This sunflowers are offically done for the season.

   For more sunflower maze details, click here. 

 

 

- WEATHER FORECAST -

High: -    |     Peak Heat Index: -  

 

 

 

- DAILY SUNFLOWER MAZE PICTURES -

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

Posted 8/4/2017 8:35am by Brian Lau.

The past three weeks have been busy ones here on the farm as guests from across the country visit the sunflower maze. On Thursday, August 3, we ended our full bloom hours and returned to our regular store hours since the sunflowers have passed their peak. What does that mean for you? Can you still visit the maze? 

Above is a photo taken in the second planting of the maze Friday morning. As you can see, there is still a lot of color remaining, but the blooms are drooping and beginning to lose their petals.

 

With color remaining and great weather in the forecast, the maze will remain open for two more days (Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 5). Please check our store page for hours of operation as they have been reduced from what they were. The wagon shuttle to and from the maze will continue Friday, but may or may not be running Saturday. There are many other tasks around the farm that need to be completed that require both the tractor and the tractor driver. Admission for the maze will remain the same ($3 per person with kids five and under free).

 

Beginning Sunday, August 6, the maze will be closed for the season. Our farm store is open year-round, though, so be sure to visit. We've received a new selection of products, including Wisconsin cheese!

Posted 7/14/2017 8:00pm by Brian Lau.

We're excited to open our second sunflower maze this summer! We've been busy the past week preparing the maze, store, and farm for this year's season. Unfortunately, multiple rounds of showers and thunderstorms created a muddy mess in the sunflower field, preventing us from mowing it as soon as we wanted and delaying other preparations around the farm.

In the meantime, the sunflowers continued to grow, and many of the buds in the first planting are either open or quickly developing yellow centers.

We've heard excitement and anticipation from a lot of people in the past month, and while the maze isn't in full bloom at this point, we wanted to give an opportunity to see the maze and enjoy the pleasant weather in the forecast for Saturday. Therefore, we will have the maze OPEN Saturday, July 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central time for a sunflower maze "sneak peek." Many of the details remain the same, as you can find on our sunflower maze page. Keep in mind the ground is still soft, so wear shoes you wouldn't mind getting muddy if you visit.

The maze will be CLOSED Sunday, July 16, but we hope to begin our full bloom hours later that week. Keep checking social media for the latest.

We can't wait to see you, and we hope you enjoy your time on the farm!

Posted 5/26/2017 10:27am by Brian Lau.

It’s been a busy few months at L&A Family Farms, and we wanted to let you know about the new service we are FINALLY offering.

From the responses we’ve received on surveys, it appears convenience is important to obtaining our products. While we have our on-farm store, most do not like to take the time out of their schedule to visit.

Now, you don't have to make a trip to the store or visit one of our farmers' market stands on Saturday morning; we are offering a Neighborhood Delivery Service! We will deliver our farm fresh products to your neighborhood. All you have to do is sign up, place your order, and be willing to meet us at a specific time and location to pick it up.

If this is something you are interested in or simply want more information, please check out the Neighborhood Delivery Service section under the CSA tab on our website.

We need your help in getting the word out about this service. Please tell your family and friends about it. For your convenience, you can download our promotional PDF to share.

We currently have pick-up locations set in Paris and Marshall. We are also trying to finalize the specifics of a drop site in the northern part of Terre Haute.

If we do not deliver in your neighborhood at this time, would you consider hosting a pick-up location? You can fill out this form if you are potentially interested in hosting a new pick up location. Filling out this form does not commit you to anything. This will allow us to keep you informed of any opportunity that may arise in your area.

We are excited to offer you this service, and time will tell if this model will be successful!

Posted 4/13/2017 3:28pm by Brian Lau.

Happy Easter! 

Have you ever wondered or thought about how an egg became a symbol of Easter? A quick internet search revealed several possibilities. The one that made the most sense to me was from the early Christian tradition of Lent.

Lent is a 40 day time period of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. For early Christians, dairy, meat, and eggs were fasted during Lent. During this strict Lenten fast, eggs were not eaten for 40 days.

Eggs without refrigeration, unlike the dairy and meats, do not perish quickly. Since the hens would have kept laying through the 40 day period, there would have been an abundance of eggs on Easter. With Easter being the end of the Lenten fast, the abundance of eggs would have made them a mainstay of Easter meals and a prized gift for children. 

Since Easter is upon us I will share with you a couple of egg recipes that your family will surely enjoy!

 

 

                                           1492117053_0ec14dbb4ab0.jpg

 

                     Rise and Shine Egg Casserole

INGREDIENTS

  •   2 lb. pkg. frozen hash browns
  •   8 L & A Family Farms eggs
  •   1 c. milk
  •   2 c. shredded cheddar cheese      
  •   1 lb.  L & A Family Farms sausage
  •   ½ c. diced onions (optional)
  •   ½ c. green peppers (optional)
  •   Salt
  •   Pepper

 

DIRECTIONS  

Preheat oven to 350°.  Whisk the eggs.  Put hash browns into 9 x 13 casserole dish.  In skillet, brown the sausage, drain off grease.  Put browned sausage on top of hash browns. Put onions and/or green peppers on sausage.  Mix in bowl eggs, milk and shredded cheese.  Pour that mixture over all.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover dish with foil.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Uncover dish and bake an additional 10 minutes.    

 

Deviled Eggs

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dozen hard boiled eggs
  • 3/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½  - 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons mustard
  • 1 ½ - 2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • Dash of pepper 

 

DIRECTIONS

Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add butter, sugar, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Evenly disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites.  

Optional:  Decorate with paprika, parsley, or red onions.  

Posted 3/25/2017 4:45pm by L&A Family Farms.

     From a distance, it appeared our hens were out enjoying their pasture on the first full day of spring; however, upon closer inspection, there were no fences confining these hens.

     This group of egg layers arrived on the farm in the fall of 2016. After spending six weeks in the brooder house, they made their move to the hoop building for winter housing. Chickens – true to their name – are scared of anything unusual in their enclosure whether it runs, walks, or just sits. A good example of this behavior unfolds when feeding them fruit and vegetable scraps. The mere tossing of a banana peel sends the flock into panic mode, causing them to flap their wings and scatter in all directions, filling the building with dust. Since cold weather arrived before they were old enough to enjoy the pasture, they hadn’t experienced time outside of the building until Tuesday.

     At some point during the day, gusty winds blew one of the doors open on the building.

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it also drove the hens outside to explore their surroundings. They didn’t just stop at the pasture, though. With their instincts kicking in, the hens scrambled across the property line where a wooded area with low sprawling bushes and briars offered better protection from predators in the air. There they set up camp for the day and enjoyed scratching through leaves, eating any bugs or seeds they found, and perching on tree branches. They were happy, happy, happy!


 

Happy hens!

     

     Any attempts made to usher them back inside only sent them further into the woods, so the decision was made to wait for another instinct to kick in. When the sun begins to set, chickens head for their homes to roost for the night. This can be a pain when moving them to different buildings since they’ll attempt to return to their old home, but it was helpful in this situation. Once the sun started sinking below the horizon, some of the hens went inside on their own, but a hundred or so required some persuasion.

     Herding chickens can be interesting. It is best to keep them in groups because if singled out, they’ll take off full speed, beginning a seemingly never-ending chasing game. The herding process clearly explains why people came up with “birdbrain.” The hens could be standing about a foot away from an open door, but they’d still try to run around the side of the building, attempting to find another way inside. After nearly 45 minutes of chasing them out of the woods and herding them to the building, four of us were finally able to get the hens back inside for the night.

     Our eggs are labeled “pasture-raised,” but any laid from that flock in the following days easily met the definition of “free-range!”

 

 

"Marry Me?" - The Story Behind The Sunflower Maze ThemeFebruary 13th, 2019

     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 fi

The Daily BriefingOctober 27th, 2018

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

Our New LookJune 19th, 2018

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 a

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