Pumpkin Patch Farms

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by Dennis Seid // photos by Lindsay Pace

For the past 24 years, September and October have been the busiest months for Clay Meeks and his family at Pumpkin Patch Farms.

What started as a small pumpkin patch has grown into a 200-acre operation, drawing visitors from not only surrounding counties in Northeast Mississippi, but surrounding states, too.

“The pumpkin patch itself is about 50 acres,” Meeks said. “Well, for the tourists it’s about 50 acres, but we really grow pumpkins all across the farm.”

When Meeks planted his first pumpkin seeds in the early 1990s, it didn’t work out very well, and they failed to sprout. But he found another patch of land to plant seeds a couple years later, and it turned out to be one of his best crops ever.

Meeks expanded his assortment of pumpkins to 10 varieties, and has added on ever since. This year, when visitors come by for the first time on opening day in September, they will see 25 varieties. 

“We got plenty of rain this year, and they’re growing well,” he said.

But visitors and tourists will have more than pumpkins to pick. Pumpkin Patch Farms offers hay rides, pony rides, a petting barn, Pumpkin Patch Express train rides, a giant jumping pillow and pedal cars.

“We’ve also redone our store and opened it up,” Meeks said. “We took the ceiling out and made it a vaulted ceiling, and added exhaust fans to pull air into it. We’ve also added two outdoor eating venues.”

With all the activities available, as well as food – kettle corn, fudge, ice cream, breads and their famous and most-popular caramel apples – Meeks said it’s not unusual for a family to stay all day, from 9 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m.

“We want to make it an experience where everyone can enjoy themselves,” he said.

New this year are pancakes for breakfast on Saturdays, starting at 8 a.m.

Meeks said Pumpkin Patch Farms has turned into the place he always dreamed of having. With relatives in Birmingham offering advice and help from their own pumpkin farm, Meeks took it all to heart, and it’s paid off.

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