If you think Central Florida is all about over-sized rodents in tuxedos, death-defying roller coasters, and competitively towering attractions – you haven’t explored our surprisingly diverse resources and amusements thoroughly enough. The Central Florida region has contributed a great deal to the nation’s food supply as a top crop producer. Many of our most prolific farms have faded away and disappeared, but some do remain. Long and Scott Farm has been a Florida staple for over 50 years, holding firm to their stellar reputation as the producers of the famous Zellwood Sweet Corn.
From Long and Scott Farms…
Frank Scott Jr. began farming with his father, Frank Scott Sr. in Cape Charles, Virginia. Billy Long grew up on a neighboring family farm, but found his way to Zellwood, Florida and became a “muck farmer”. Billy talked Frank into moving to Florida and growing Kirby cucumbers in the sandy soil of Zellwood. So in 1963 Frank, along with his wife Becky and their three children, Rebecca, Hank and Marks moved to Florida to establish Long and Scott Farms on 100 acres of land. Frank expanded Long and Scott Farms to 1,200 acres as they produced Zellwood Sweet Corn, pickling (Kirby) cucumbers, both red and green cabbage, along with a variety of other produce. Both sons, Hank and Marks grew up working on the farm after school and in the summers. With these agricultural roots, in 1979 after graduating from the University of South Florida, Hank Scott then begin managing the farm and became a 3rd generation farmer. Hank married Cindy in 1981. After the birth of the couple’s two children, Cindy joined the farm in 1988 to manage the office. Frank kind of semi-retired, he still comes to the farm everyday to participate, he still loves to be on a tractor. Cindy has since retired to babysit her grandchildren, and both of Hank and Cindy’s children, Sonny and Haley are now working on the farm. They represent the 4th generation of the Scott family’s farming tradition. Marks, the youngest brother manages his local own nursery, PlowBoys Horticulture, along with his wife Mary.
In the early years, the Scotts were able to purchase additional acreage for increased production. Then, in the late 1990’s, the state of Florida mandated the shut-down of approximately 18,000 acres of muck farms around Lake Apopka. The mandate did not include Long and Scott, a sand farm, and in 1998 it became the sole remaining farm in an area once devoted to and known for the large-scale production of sweet corn and many other vegetables. Without other farms and farm businesses around it was tough going, to survive them the farm had to diversify and change. Hank and Cindy seized the opportunity to trademark Scott’s Zellwood Sweet Corn™, and the farm continues to be the only producers of Zellwood Sweet Corn. Surrounded by an exploding population, the family also decided to expand their roadside produce stand to an open-air country market. They set aside 10 acres to grow a larger variety of vegetables and started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The CSA was well received by those members that signed up, but growing a variety of produce demands more maintenance and labor then many, many acres of one crop. Without enough members the program was not financially feasible. It is always on the back burner to do again when the time is right.
In 2003 with thoughts of bringing more people out to the farm and the new market, they decided to get involved with Agri-tainment. Many farms across the country are doing this in hopes of staying around. After the first 7 acre corn maze brought in 5,000 people, it has become a tradition for many. Every year there is a new design in the corn field and something new is added to the maze activity area. Currently Scott’s Maze Adventures brings in around 30,000 visitors each fall season. Hank’s sister Rebecca took early retirement to come in and manage the Corn Maze. Over the years, besides the thousands of people that come on the weekend general public days, the farm has hosted hundreds of school groups throughout the weekdays. Not only is the maze educational but it gives many kids a firsthand view of the farm.
When you arrive at the farm for the Maze Adventure, you get so much more than a simple corn maze. It’s an extensive corn maze… and that’s only part of the full experience! After purchasing your tickets, you’ll notice fun photo staging areas nearby.
While you wait for your turn to enter the farm, there is a holding area decked out with tot-level amusements, including a clever mini hedge maze.
Crossing through the entry gate, you’ll discover the pumpkin patch – perfect for “fall on the farm” photos. I haven’t seen this kind of autumn greeting since I moved back to Orlando from Tennessee.
Before making your way to the maze, everyone must view a briefing video for instructions.
After your briefing, pass through the tunnel to access the farm’s agri-tainment zone!
Before the maze entrance, there’s a lively, farm-authentic, original fun zone, including a 60ft super slide, giant jumping pillow, rope maze, rock maze, mist maze, kids’ zip line, playgrounds, picnic area, and food vendors. Located nearby are a one-acre corn maze for children, and a three-acre live tree maze in the shape of an ear of corn. A tower stands at the maze border, providing wide-range views for farm staff keeping an eye out for stranded explorers in need of assistance.
Each year, the maze design adopts a new theme. This year’s theme is “A Salute to Our Armed Forces”, incorporating a soldier and military branches into the six-acre maize design. If it looks like a daunting challenge – it’s meant to be! Guests should get lost in the maze, if they want to take full advantage of the fun! This is more than just a maze to escape from. It really is a space to explore. There’s fun (and even a bit of education) hidden throughout the maze!
The goal is to find 21 different stations hidden in the big maze, and then to find your way back out. We have guests divide into smaller teams of 4-6 people and work together to complete the game sheet for the Corn Maze. Everyone is shown a Maze Video; this is a comical way to see how the maze game sheet works and hear all the rules. To make sure everyone finds their way out of the maze, each group is given a flag at the entrance of the maze to wave for help if needed. Staff members are available inside the maze to give hints to the frustrated. To complete the game sheet it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, and there is not just one way to get through the maze.
Our maze adventure is so popular because it levels the playing field between all ages. It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, or how smart you are. The maze is a puzzle bigger than any one person. Teamwork is a feature of solving these gigantic puzzles. We try to provide a unique outdoor adventure in a safe environment.
Bridges at the front of the maze offer an over-the-top view!
At the end of your maze adventure, enjoy a relaxing hayride tour as you learn about the history of Long and Scott Farms.
On your way out, save time to visit the County Café, where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
We were treated to delightfully delicious corn fritters during our visit. Although they’re not a usual menu item, they should be! A great way to promote the Zellwood corn difference!
Scott’s Maze Adventure is open October 3 – December 13, 2015. Hours of operation are Saturdays 10AM – 5PM, Sundays 1PM – 5PM. Last ticket sold at 3PM. Tuesdays through Fridays are for groups of 20 or more by reservations only. Thanksgiving week, the farm adds two extra days for the general public -Wednesday and Friday. The Friday after Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of their Christmas tree sale and weekend visits from Santa Claus. Admission to the maze is just $11 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-16. For more information, visit www.longandscottfarms.com.
To see our complete Long and Scott Farms photo album, click here.