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Good Question: How Are Corn Mazes Made?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
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By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — Along with the pumpkin patches and the haunted houses, corn mazes have become a real fall tradition.

They’re so intricate and that had many people wondering how they make them.

With 14 acres, 1 million corn plants and one giant Vikings logo — Sever’s Corn Maze in Shakopee, Minn. claims to be America’s largest.

“Nicola, there’s no way you could get a combine through here to cut this all out. How do you guys make these paths?” asked WCCO-TV reporter, Jason DeRusha.

“We actually have a team of family and friends that cut it by hand, by hoe,” said Nicola Peterson, the fourth generation to work at the maze

She said using a hoe to do it all is quite the effort.

“Three to five days with a team of about 20 people total. And those are full days,” she said.

Sever Peterson is a sweet corn farmer. He built his first maze in Eden Prairie, Minn. in 1997.

“(The first year) it was always the same,” he said.

They use a computer to plot the design out on a grid. A local ad agency designs the main element and Sever lays out the maze part.

“Every row is like a line on a graph paper,” said Sever Peterson.

The hand-chopping usually happens in June when the corn is just starting to grow.

“They’re small plants, so it makes it a lot easier to see the entire field. And obviously it’s less labor intensive when they’re smaller,” said Nicola Peterson.

There is GPS seed planting technology that would allow Sever to just plant the field in this pattern, but he’s not equipped for that just yet.

“It is a little mind-boggling, and that’s what the maze is intended to be,” said Sever Peterson.

The Sever’s Corn Maze is open Saturday and Sunday. There are other mazes in the area, including one in Shafer and the Afton Apple Farm.

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