#EscapeWithNCAg is a year-long series that will focus on agritourism across North Carolina. Many farms, wineries and other agricultural businesses in our state offer events such as tours, yoga, educational classes, pick-your-own events and festivals, to entertain the public and teach them about our state’s number one industry. Each Thursday, we will feature a new site for you to visit with friends or family. Stay tuned and learn how to escape the stresses of life by diving into agriculture!
Home to the largest maze in the Cape Fear Region, Galloway Farm, Home of Maze Craze in Hallsboro has always had a heart for bringing the community to the farm and immersing them in the world of agriculture. Although she was not raised a farm girl, Alma Galloway fell in love with farming the moment that she married a farmer. “I not only had a desire for the farm itself and all that could be grown and raised here, but also a strong passion to bring people to the farm and educate them about our state’s number one industry,” she said. Today, the 4th generation family farm raises nearly 200 beef cattle, goats, donkeys, rabbits, and other livestock, in addition to growing corn, oats, soybeans and hay.
In 2011, Alma began dipping her toes in the agritourism pool by offering field trips for school groups across the state. “Every year since then we have built upon our offerings,” she said, “including the sorghum maze that we are most well known for, which is the largest maze in the Cape Fear Region, spanning almost 5 miles of walking trails.” They also have a barrel train, tractor ride, games, replica tobacco barn where they host (plan to do) demonstrations on grits and corn meal making, an interactable soybean display, breakfast with Santa, an Easter egg drop, a ladybug release, selfies in the sunflowers, a Special Friends Day and more! “Agriculture plays a role in nearly every aspect of our lives,” Alma said, “so no matter what people come out to the farm for, we make sure that they learn all about our state’s agriculture industry, how to respect our farmers and how to shop local, before they leave.” Although they enjoy hosting events throughout the year, fall is their busiest time due to field trips and the Fall Maze Craze.
There are currently four weekends left of the fall Maze Craze event, lasting from Sept. 23 through Nov. 5. The maze at Galloway Farms is unlike any other fall maze you will experience because it also encompasses a gps guided checkpoint hunt, created by Alma and her team. “When entering the maze, visitors scan a QR code that will give them a GPS map of the corn maze and instructions to play. It also times them throughout the maze,” Alma said. “Once they find all the checkpoints and complete the maze, we have a leader board that they can check to rank themselves among other visitors that day. It’s a fun game for both adults and kids!” Be sure to notice the design of the corn maze this year. For the past 13 years, Galloway Farms has partnered with local businesses to design the corn maze in a way that will promote local people, products, and corporations. Except for last year, each maze has been themed to represent a company found in the area. This year, the farm has partnered with Southeastern Community College’s Agribusiness School to create the farm’s very first ag-themed maze! “We are very excited not only about the design of the maze, but to also have yet another education tool for visitors,” Alma said. “Everything we do on this farm points toward ag education, so I’m thrilled to see the maze reflect that in a big way this year.”
In addition to the big maze, Galloway Farms also has a 2-acre kids’ fun maze with a Corn You Find scavenger hunt and three story trails that kids can take to learn about agriculture and Spookley the Square Pumpkin. “As many people know, the story of Spookley is one that speaks to anti-bullying and treating others the way that we wish to be treated,” Alma said. “As kids wander through that trail of the maze, they read the story of Spookley and learn lessons such as acceptance, diversity and more. At the end of the maze, they recite an anti-bullying pledge, showing that they listened and understood.” The other two trails within the maze tell agricultural stories, such as the Three Silly Goats and their Stuff. Admission to the fall Maze Craze is $12 online and $14 at the gate. The farm is open to the public on Fridays from 3-9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
During your time at Galloway Farms, be sure to check out all their fun games and activities, including hayrides, rubber duck racing, a pipe slide, hop along farm animals, corn hole, wall ball and augmented reality farm games. When Pokemon Go became a viral sensation, Alma used the opportunity to develop a game for her farm that would allow people to mimic the game by finding farm animals at Galloway Farms. “I worked with a company to create this game where you can not only run around the farm to find the animals, but also take pictures with them once you find them,” she said. “The game also teaches fun facts on each animal when they are found, so it is a great education tool as well.”
Through everything that they do at Galloway Farms, Alma and her family seeks to educate the public on the N.C. Agriculture industry, it’s importance and how to support it moving forward. “Knowing that I have instilled a bit of agriculture in someone who visits the farm is the greatest reward,” Alma said. “Agriculture is a part of life that we simply could not live without. From the food that we eat, to the clothes that we wear, to the tires on our car and items in our house, agriculture touches every part of our lives every single day. Sharing that importance with people that come to the farm, watching them gain an appreciation for the farmer and leaving with a newfound goal to support them is our biggest mission on the farm.” So, head out this weekend to Galloway Farms for the annual Maze Craze and take part in our state’s number one industry. We are proud to have destinations like Galloway Farms that continue to blaze the way forward for agriculture and agritourism in North Carolina.