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Hidden Rivers Farm brings pumpkins and 'fun' to Hartselle

Hidden Rivers Farm is on it's third year of bringing fall 'fun' to Hartselle with a pumpkin patch, corn maze, playground, animals and more.

HARTSELLE, Ala. — It's officially October and that means time for pumpkins. But how do farmers prep for the season here in North Alabama? Hidden Rivers Farm says it takes a lot of work to sustain pumpkins in this climate. Their farm not only has pumpkins. Mary-Sidney Ritch, co-owner of Hidden Rivers, says this place is full of 'fun'.

Tucked into the woods sits Hidden Rivers Farm. 

Ritch grew up on the farm with her family, then moved away, and missed it so much that she came back to work on the farm with her sister and it sparked an idea, "let's open up our farm, bring people out here, and let them enjoy everything that we love about this farm," Ritch said.

In 2020, the sisters did just that. The farm has welcomed many new additions over the years with a playground, a corn maze, a tail gate area, a place to grab food and fresh lemonade and an area to pet their much-loved animals.

But something that's a staple is the pumpkin patch. This year it sits at the center of the fun. "Each year that you come out to the farm, it'll be in a slightly different place. And that gives the time for the soil to heal and be ready for the following year's pumpkins. There's a lot of tilling involved and then post planning. There's a lot of navigating to make sure that the vines stay where they need to go," Ritch said.

It's been a dry season this year and with that, "We've got to stay on top of watering because they are very delicate plants and they can wither up and dry in a day if you're not careful," Ritch said.

But if it's a season that gets a lot of rain, Ritch says they have to make sure the pumpkins don't get soaked and decay.

"It's worth it because as you can see, the people enjoy going out there and finding that perfect pumpkin, whether or not it's perfectly symmetrical or if it's got a little quirk to it, a few little knobs, and it's like finding the perfect Christmas tree."

Ritch says seeing people smiling is everything she wanted when they opened this place.

"It's truly a safe place from whatever chaos may be going on. We don't know what's going on in people's worlds. We can't walk in their shoes. But what I can do is offer a place where they can get away from it and have a breath of fresh air and a break from everything."

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