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Splendor in the grass

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

Sure, we all enjoy food gone pretty on the plate — a squiggle of sauce here, a towering stack there. Heck, to be rich and European once meant elaborately dressed dishes (stuffed peacock, anyone?) that, sadly, were usually cold after their long trip to the table.

But what about food that's fabulously arranged before it's even harvested? I'm talking not just about corn mazes, which are plenty fun this time of year, but the incredible rice-paddy art of Japan.

[%image feed-image float=right width=400 caption="Surf's up."]

Over the past several years, the rice farmers in the town of Inakadate have carefully planted different colors of rice to form images when viewed from above. This year, the grassy pictures are reproductions of Hokusai's famous woodblock-print series "36 Views of Mount Fuji."

Back Stateside, it's corn that's the artistic medium of choice. On a farm in Massachusetts, the corn art changes every year; this year's portrait showed Louis Armstrong playing his trumpet, while last year's portrait in kernels was an elaborate depiction of Julia Child, wielding a mallet in her kitchen. Other previous corny subjects at the farm have included Einstein, King Tut, the Mona Lisa, and Babe Ruth.

Perhaps the biggest player in this agricultural art is MAiZE, which calls itself the world’s largest cornfield-maze company. Last year, MAiZE was involved with more than 190 mazes in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

Check out the MAiZE website for its handy “find a maze near you” feature. And good luck finding your way out.

feed-image, l