GREENE COUNTY, Tennessee (WJHL) – Fall is here, bringing excitement for fall festivals and pumpkins. Farmers are no different as they spend months preparing for these events and activities.
Farmers actually depend on these events and activities for a large part of their income. Preparation is not easy, especially if Mother Nature does not cooperate.
Emily Armstrong owns Horse Creek Farms in Chuckey with her husband and was eager to host their very first sunflower festival. However, Armstrong said they faced bad advice for their first harvest of sunflowers. Rain from Hurricane Ida destroyed their second crop.
“We have flowers and we have little patches of them,” Armstrong said. “It’s not like it used to be, but we can’t control the weather. We cannot control how it all happens. We have to somehow deal with it and deliver the best of ourselves. “
Armstrong couldn’t back down after all the time and money she spent creating the festival.
The festival includes more than just photo opportunities with sunflowers. Armstrong has created a corn maze, vendors will serve food, and live music will be played.
Due to the impact on the flowers, the festival will now include a tour of the dairy where people can meet the cows, pet and feed their calves.
“We’re really trying to use all of our resources to make this a really great event and to make sure people have time to come and make it worth it because that’s how we make a living,” Armstrong said. .
Armstrong isn’t the only farmer facing setbacks.
Buffalo Trail Orchard is one of the few orchards in the area to feature U-pick apples – an attraction that owner Phil Ottinger says draws people from all over, year after year.
Ottinger said a late frost killed around 75-80% of their apples.
“When we choose yours, there’s a huge crowd coming in,” Ottinger said. “So if you’re going to U-pick you have to make sure you have a lot of apples, or you have people driving an hour, two hours, and they come in here and there are no apples to pick.” and we obviously don’t want that to happen.
There are still a variety of pre-picked apples available for purchase at the farm.
Visitors can also purchase a variety of hand-made squash, jams, jellies and pies. Ottinger also organizes a hay walk to the pumpkin and sunflower field where visitors can pick their own pumpkins and sunflowers right from the field.
Ottinger said this was one of the best pumpkin crops he had had in years. He said he had planted 20-25 varieties of pumpkins to choose from.
“When we take them to the patch and they get off the wagon, I hand each family a set of mowers,” Ottinger said. “I make sure it fits an adult, you know they can be a little bit dangerous, so you don’t want kids to have them.”
Ottinger said he sees families coming to the farm every year and hopes new visitors do the same. Armstrong said she hopes to see families come back generation after generation.
Hay rides and pick pumpkins are offered at the Buffalo Trail Orchard every Saturday and Sunday in October from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors can purchase homemade produce and products at the farm store seven days a week.
The Sunflower Festival will take place on Saturday October 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday October 10 from 1 to 6 p.m.
Horse Creek Farms will also be hosting a Glow Stick Corn Maze on Saturday night.