Odd Job: Corn-Maze Designer

Turning a cornfield into a carnival attraction is no easy task. A corn-maze designer tells all.
Related To:
LAP_cornmaze_LAPC1201.jpg

LAP_cornmaze_LAPC1201.jpg

©2009 Lori Adamski-Peek Photo

2009 Lori Adamski-Peek Photo

Brett Herbst makes a living off corn, but he doesn't grow a stalk of it. Farm owners hire Herbst and his Utah-based team of six to turn more than 200 cornfields into mazes for tourists each fall.

He "grows" the mazes.

Herbst doesn't mow down fully grown stalks of corn: His crew hits fields across the country in June, when stalks are only two-feet tall. He brings computerized sketches and sometimes even uses a GPS tracker to make sure he’s cutting the design accurately.

He can make a cornfield look like your face.

While most jobs call for standard-issue corn mazes, Herbst has created some big media spectacles, too, like designs of the solar system or Oprah Winfrey's portrait, viewable only from the air. He finds facial features the trickiest. 'You only have two elements of contrast: corn and dirt," he says.

An inside secret:

Some say that if you walk through a maze and keep your hand on one wall the whole time, you'll find your way out. Herbst says this tip usually works, but it’s not guaranteed. His job is to trick you: "Watch out for diversions—just because there is a bridge doesn't mean you need to cross it to get out."

Keep Reading

Next Up

On the Road Eats: A Is for Autumn Apples

Apples are coming down from the trees and onto the plate this season. Enjoy this fruit's warm flavors at some of Food Network's favorite spots around the country.

Food Network Magazine: October 2013 Recipe Index

105 recipes, including a giant caramel apple cake, easy meatballs and 50 things to do with canned pumpkin

Food Network Magazine: October 2009 Recipe Index

Find great fall recipes for appetizers, snacks, easy main dishes and sides from Food Network Magazine.

Food Network Magazine: November 2013 Recipe Index

131 great recipes, including chefs’ 50 best Thanksgiving tips, a festive cake roll and 50 vegetable sides

Duff's Time-Out

Ace of Cakes Duff Goldman takes a break from baking to tailgate with his friends. . .Baltimore-style.

Food Network Stars' Top Eats Across the Country

Check out Food Network stars' top restaurant picks from their travels across the country.

How to Make Pine Syrup

Learn how to cook your Christmas tree with this guide on making pine syrup from Food Network Magazine.

Odd Job: Pilgrim Chef

Meet a woman who makes Thanksgiving dinner the old-fashioned way.

Give Them Props: Secrets of a Food Network Set Designer

Food Network's resident set designer has a collection of kitchen gadgets you won't believe...

Essential Picnic Checklist

Follow this outdoor dining checklist and you'll be the best-prepared picnicker at the beach or park.