Gazing through maize: Local family-owned farm

Abby Buckner, Associate A&C Editor

Fall is here. As temperatures drop and October creeps by, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and haunted trails are sprouting up. C and J Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, located at 1999 Brookshire Road, is open Saturday through Sunday in September and Friday through Sunday starting in October. It offers a variety of classic fall activities and farm products to satisfy every imaginable fall need. 

C and J is a family-owned and operated farm. It was initially opened in 1980 by Jeff Brown as Watauga County’s first choose and cut Christmas tree farm and later passed down to his son, Daniel Brown. 

“My dad opened the tree farm,” Daniel Brown said. “That’s what started everything we do here.”

Owners Daniel Brown and Kari Brown now run the family farm with the help of their two children, Brayden and Caleigh.

This year will be the farm’s second year growing and running the corn maze. The family created the attraction as a way to expand the farm outside of the Christmas tree season and provide an additional income. This year, the corn maze grew to 3.5 acres, which is notably bigger than the previous year’s acre and a half.

“I planted corn in June. I cut it when it was small to create the maze,” Daniel Brown said. Daniel Brown said this year’s maze was made by “luck and intuition” and plans on making a design for the maze next year.

The corn maze is $7 for adults and $5 for kids, and they accept cash or card. Surrounded by 360-degree mountain views, the maze will take you twisting and turning around the property. After encountering numerous dead ends and navigating through the maze, a massive pumpkin patch and scenic walk back to the entrance awaits.

“It took us around 20-25 minutes to get through. It was pretty awesome,” local visitor Jayden Robbins said. 

In addition to the corn maze and pumpkin patch, the farm opened The Haunted Trail for its first full weekend Oct.7. Prices are $12 for adults and $10 for kids. The owners gear it towards college students and will feature startling scarers and haunted decorations Daniel Brown said are sure to bring out some fright.

“We try to use as much creepy equipment as possible,” said Daniel Brown “We hire a lot of local people to help us out with everything we do. There will be clowns, chainsaws and more!”

The Haunted Trail tracks around the forest area of the farm and behind the corn maze, spotlighting the nature of the land with tons of spooky embellishments. The owners intend on incorporating aspects of the new house being built on the property into the experience.

“We plan on decorating our house to be haunted so as people walk towards the trail they will walk by the scary house first,” Keri Brown said.

The farm has an assortment of games and activities available, including a bounce castle, crafts and multiple photo opportunities. Visitors can wander through the corn maze, admire the mountain views on a hayride and enjoy a game of cornhole.

“I love the decorations and effort put into the farm,” freshman hospitality management major Ally Henning said. “I especially like the hay barrels decorated as spiders for cute pictures.”

Fall treats and decorations are for sale. The farm grows small and large mums for $8-$20. Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors are for purchase under $20. Concessions are also available including, fresh grilled hot dogs and barbeque, drinks, snacks and cotton candy.

“The flavor is phenomenal; their homemade family barbeque sauce is amazing,” freshman Lauren Martino said. “They have tiny baby pumpkins that are so adorable to put in a dorm room.”