MEMPHIS, Tenn — A trip to the pumpkin patch is a fall tradition like no other. Even though the pastime is outdoors, the pandemic hasn't exactly helped business for one local pumpkin patch. In fact, 2020 as a whole hasn't been too kind to them.
For Cedar Hill Farm in Hernando, Mississippi, that tradition has a 25 year long course.
“I see people coming out now, used to come here as kindergartens on field trips, that are now bringing their kindergartners," Cedar Hill Farm President Robert Foster said.
Now those field trips, much like nearly every event at the farm, have been canceled because of the pandemic.
“We lost all of our contracts for the year," Foster said. "Weddings, corporate picnics, family reunions, you name it. They all canceled.”
On this particular Tuesday morning, it is quiet around the farm. Cedar Hill is now only open Friday through Sunday instead of seven days a week, due to the impact to business.
“Normally right now there would be buses pulling in and a lot of cars and a lot of people coming out to the farm," Foster said.
But problems started long before the pandemic for the farm.
“2020 has been a rollercoaster," Foster said.
In January, the farm took a direct hit from a F2 tornado. Thankfully, it spared the main structures of the farm but it left damage and downed trees all across the 120 acre property.
“It really took a lot out of us to get it all cleaned up financially and physically and we were exhausted and by the time we got it all done, the pandemic strikes," Foster said.
Like many businesses, Cedar Hill has had to rethink business to keep afloat during the pandemic. With no events to host, Foster turned the event venue into a restaurant.
“It’s had it’s up and downs," Foster said. "It’s had good weekends. It’s had bad weekends but it has kept us going through the year so it’s been a godsend and a blessing in disguise.”
The two traditionally busiest weekends of the year for the farm are coming up where they are hoping for good weather to pull through.
“This past weekend would have been our third biggest weekend but the rain, it completely rained out Saturday," Foster said. "Friday and Sunday were at about 50% revenue because of the rain and weather, so that hurts. Always does. Especially in a year like this. Hurts even more."
Foster said the farm is now trying to get through the end of the year and hopes for brighter days in 2021.