How inflation is impacting a favorite north Alabama fall festivity

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 10:25 AM CDT

MERIDIANVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Many people in the Tennessee Valley mark the beginning of the fall season by visiting the pumpkin patch, like the popular Tate Farms.

Owner Stewart McGill says, just like everyone, he’s seen inflation hit his farm. He says his input costs have gone up by 24% over the last year. This is covering everything from food to fuel to fertilizer.

He says rising costs are compounded by supply troubles from the pandemic, but he says he won’t let any of these barriers stop him from delivering all the Tate Farms activities the north Alabama community has come to enjoy.

“Everything is a little bit different with our supplies, what we can get, what we can’t get,” McGill said. “So, things are a little bit different but the average person that comes here, they’ll never know the difference. That’s our goal is to make sure our product and experience and destination that we have to offer everyone is the exact same as we’ve offered everyone for the past 27 years.”

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

He says he knows everyone’s experiencing price jumps so he’s trying to keep prices low especially as wholesale prices saw a significant increase, some as much as 20%.

‘Pumpkinflation’ is not hitting local pumpkin patches as hard as other sellers. Producers like Tate Farms grow and sell all of their own products so they can cut out several growing costs like labor and transportation, even as prices for essentials like fertilizer are on the rise.

McGill says they did have to raise the price of pumpkins from $7 to $8.

“That does not cover the amount of what our inputs have gone up but that is a price that we feel is a fair price and it keeps us in the market that allows us to be profitable,” McGill said. “We can’t do it for free, unfortunately.”

He says he hates to increase pumpkin prices at all because he knows families are having a tough time with their own rising costs.