Drought pushing fall fun back at a Picayune farm, and many others

The intense summer heat and current drought stunted crop growth, causing a local farm to continue to push back its fall activities.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 4:12 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2023 at 10:40 AM CDT
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PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - Although it doesn’t feel like fall outside, it is. That means time for pumpkin picking, mazes, and all of that fall fun.

Or so we hope.

The intense summer heat and current drought stunted crop growth, causing Eastridge Farm in Picayune to push back the start of its fall activities. And they’re not alone.

“It’s greatly affected us in a negative way,” said Jim Eastridge of Eastridge Farm. “I say that smiling because that’s all I can do these days.”

Opening day for Eastridge Farm’s fall maze has been pushed back many times. Eastridge said this is due to the lack of rainfall, an issue he never saw coming this year.

“We typically like to plant the third week of July and I didn’t get to plant ‘til August the 11th,” he said. “It was two and a half weeks after that before it got any moisture on it to have the seeds germinate. So, essentially, we’re about six weeks behind.”

Eastridge Farm is not the only local farm being affected by the weather, but that doesn’t make Eastridge feel any better.

“It makes me feel not alone that I’m not the only one going through it,” he said. “Because there’s other people that depend on this as their livelihood as well that... What are you gonna do?”

To combat the high and dry temperatures farmers are now experiencing, Eastridge said an irrigation system may be key to their future.

“Being a small farmer, we don’t have million-dollar equipment,” he said. “We don’t have big farm loans to be able to lay irrigation pipes or run irrigation hoses over six acres to be able to do that.”

Eastridge said during this time, all he can do is pray that things get better.

Again, the 3rd Annual Maze at Eastridge Farm is still opening, just a little later than usual. Right now, it’s set to open Friday, October 6th from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., with last entry at 8 p.m. to allow time to complete The Maze. This years theme is “Pirates of Catahoula” with a pirate ship design cut into the farm’s 6-acre maze - the largest one yet.

Eastridge Farm is located at 22044 Eastridge Ln in Picayune. Keep up with the farm’s other events on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EastridgeFarm

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