A bountiful harvest is supplying many of Sevier County’s homeowners and business owners with plenty of fall decorations, whether an assortment of pumpkins, straw or corn stalks.
David and Kim Hodges have farmed their land at 648 Lane Hollow Road, Sevierville, since 1989.
“We just love doing it. We started selling cornstalk and pumpkins and people started coming and more people started coming and then businesses started coming,” Kim Hodges said.
She credits their faith in God for having such successful harvests year after year and being able to serve so many Sevier County businesses.
“A lot of prayer and a lot of hard work. God just blessed us with good ground to grow stuff,” Kim Hodges said. “You get up every morning and pray for God to help you and He blesses you every day.”
They supplied mums, cornstalks and pumpkins for the decorations at the Sevier County Courthouse, and provide them for area businesses as well, such as a local distillery who stopped in Tuesday to collect a large quantity of cornstalk, straw and a variety of pumpkins.
They have added the mums, straw and fall-themed bows in later years to make it a one-stop shopping experience.
They sell cushaws, a type of squash, as well as about 12 varieties of pumpkins of different sizes, from the Cinderella pumpkin, which is round in shape with a flattened blossom and stem end, to traditional pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns. They even sell butternut squash.
Kim Hodges said cushaws are good to eat, but many people think they are gourds.
The farm is a family affair, with Kim Hodge’s parents helping some, but the couple’s boys, perhaps, pulling the most weight after their parents.
Matt and Daniel Hodges grew up farming, and they still help out with it some today. For Matt, it’s something he loves now, but he didn’t always feel that way.
“It wasn’t fun to me. When it came to the fall stuff, when I was a kid I’d rather do anything than pick pumpkins or be in the cornfield. I’d rather be playing ball,” Matt Hodges said.
“It is funny how your mind changes about stuff. It is one of the most enjoyable things now. I look forward to it every year. I really enjoy helping Dad with it.”
Matt’s son Bentley, 7, is even in on the work, but he is much more enthusiastic than his dad was. He’s quite the salesman.
The farm is about 70 acres, of which about five is farmed. They work with another man who has about 10 acres.
David Hodges said they used to farm tobacco, but as that began to get phased out started looking for other things to farm. He noticed more and more businesses going all out to decorate for fall.
“I saw where everyone caught on with decorating. I thought there would be a market for it. Back then there was not a whole lot of pumpkin farming,” David Hodges said.
Olen Williams, Kim’s dad, called his daughter and son-in-law workaholics, and he believes they would have succeeded no matter what.
“I believe you can build a business with just about anything if you are honest and have good products. If they like it they know somebody else who likes the same thing,” Williams said.
David Hodges said it is a lot of work, in particular come harvest time.
“If you’re not coming to work 18 hours a day for a couple of months you are not going to get a whole lot,” he said.
They begin planting in June, putting in pumpkin seeds in the beginning of the month and planting corn around the 20th of June.
They plant the corn later, because it is easier to handle for cutting when still green. It browns, or cures, after being cut, to the pretty shade people expect with fall decorations.
Each harvest is different, but Matt Hodges said they grow at least a thousand pumpkins each year.
The farm is open seven days a week, including on Sundays after church. For more information call 865-428-1170.