Family owned pumpkin patch Briley’s Farm Market located at 5290 Old Pactolus Rd., continues to ring in the harvest season as its annual Briley’s Pumpkin Patch, which began on Oct. 3, continues to offer fall festivities to the community.
Rachel Whitehurst is the co-owner and operator of Briley’s Farm Market along with her husband Joey Whitehurst. She has been a co-owner since 2011 when she married Joey Whitehurst who has been part of Briley’s Farm Market for over 20 years.
“We try to keep it very family friendly, this year we changed to admission and for $10 you get a pumpkin of any choice and size, you get a corn maze ticket, and you get all the activities unlimited for as long as you want to stay and so we are hoping that helps people this year, especially with COVID-19 to get out and do something fun, social distancing is easy with 109 acres,” Rachel Whitehurst said.
Briley’s Farm Market is a family-run business, according to Rachel Whitehurst. She said most of the staff are relatives. They could be nieces, nephews or even friends.
Whitehurst said because of COVID-19, certain attractions had to be shut down, most of which include physical contact. Hay rides, face painting and even pony rides are absent from this year's pumpkin patch.
“My husband (Joey Whitehurst), he is the backbone of the whole thing. He’s quiet, you see him behind the scenes, I’m always outfront doing the interviews or welcoming people but if it wasn’t for what he does behind the scenes, we would never do this, it’s a lot of work it’s not a hobby for him it is like his full, it’s what he loves it’s forever,” Rachel Whitehurst said.
Gaige Wells, a staff member at the farm market, described himself as a versatile worker as he completes jobs such as feeding the animals, putting the pumpkins on display and helping at the concession stand.
Wells said the best part about being employed at Briley’s Farm Market is putting smiles on people’s faces. He said he enjoys being out in nature and would rather work at the farm than work a nine-to-five job.
On a typical day, Wells said he wakes up at 6 a.m. and comes to the farm to set up the event. He said he makes sure the grounds are clean and tends to them from the time the Farm Market opens until it closes. He said he constantly works to make sure everything is in order.
“You really don’t get no breaks because some jobs you may get that little 30 minute, hour break, right here you just work, work, work: so it’s just nonstop work,” Wells said.
Cali Hardee, a staff member who has worked at Briley’s Farm Market for two years, said she works on the grounds usually, watches over the bounce houses and makes sure nothing is out of place and runs concessions.
Hardee said it’s fun to work at Briley’s, and being around kids and families is the best part about the work on the grounds because of the joy brought from seeing the children happy.
“It’s fun. It’s very upbeat, there is never a dull moment, you’re always busy (and) it’s a super fun place to work,” Hardee said.