For almost 20 years, Mrs. Heather’s Pumpkin Patch in Hammond has become the traditional fall activity for local families.
“We started in 1996 kind of on a whim,” said owner, Heather Hughes. “Over the years, we’ve just grown. We had probably 500 or 600 kids that first year, and I slowly have built it up. It’s just like a mini Disney Wold some people say.”
Today, the patch must stock up on 20,000 pumpkins each fall. Hughes says the pumpkins must be shipped in from Mexico due to Louisiana weather and the rise in attendance.
“When we first started, everyone did get to pick off the vine, but we have grown. So there is no way. It would take 150 acres of pumpkins to accommodate everybody,” Hughes said.
In addition to the pumpkins, Mrs. Heather’s includes several hands-on activities for children to enjoy such as a corn maze, cotton field, zip lining and face painting. Children can also weigh and measure their pumpkin.
“We try to add a little something new each year,” Hughes said.
Mother from Madisonville, Jeanette Jacobsen, says she loves the family friendly atmosphere. She brought her daughter, Josie, for a second year this fall.
“It’s really affordable, and Josie has a lot of fun. And she gets to take home a pumpkin,” Jacobsen said.
The three weeks prior to Halloween draw in the largest crowds of the season, Hughes says. However, the pumpkin patch opened the last week in September and will remain open until the first week in November.
“Everyone thinks pumpkins are just for Halloween. I try to make it go all the way to Thanksgiving, but it kind of slows down after Halloween,” Hughes said.
Mrs. Heather’s pumpkin patch is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends. Admission is $7 for children and includes the take home of a pumpkin and all activities at the site. Admission for adults is free.
The pumpkin patch is only one part of Mrs. Heather’s Farms. On the outskirts of Tickfaw, Hughes has a 10 acre strawberry farm open in the Spring from March 15 through Mother’s Day. Also, Mrs. Heather’s Farms just recently added a wedding venue, The Barn, located in Independence.