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

Your Guide to Cooking the Fall Harvest

Get set for fall by filling up your recipe repertoire with Food Network chefs' go-to dishes that are both impressive for guests and easy to prepare.

5 Healthy Pie Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Table

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there's one kind of dessert that's bound to star in your spread: pie. And we mean lots of it.

The Only 5 Brussels Sprouts Dishes You'll Need This Season — Fall Fest

Each of these top-rated, fan-favorite recipes is here to prove that Brussels sprouts can be addictively delicious when they're cooked with a little love, especially now that they're in season.

When Food Gets in Costume: Edible Takes on Creepy Halloween Things

As you're putting the final touches on your costume creation, pick from our fleet of spooky, creepy and Halloween-y food creations that look just like real things.

Guy's Cheesy Roasted Acorn Squash — Meatless Monday

Get the recipe for Guy's easy yet impressive seasonal squash.

Pumpkin Spice (and Everything Nice) — Fall Fest

These pumpkin recipes should be on tap all season long.

7 Savory Ways to Use Pumpkin Spice

There’s so much more to pumpkin pie spice blends than lattes and pies.

Autumn Squash, Reimagined: 2 New Ways to Eat It All Season Long

See how the co-hosts of The Kitchen used two varieties of seasonal squash in easy-to-make dishes.