NORFOLK, Va. - October is usually a very busy time for businessowner Daniel Haworth, better known as Farmer Dan.
Norfolk Farm Market off N. Military Highway would normally be full of hundreds of pumpkins and people, but this season the field is empty. Haworth nixed the decision to sell pumpkins this year because of COVID-19.
“Everyone’s been affected by it,” said Haworth. “You sleep with it; it’s never ending.”
With virtually no room to social distance, Haworth had to squash his pumpkin-selling side of the 40-year-old business, along with the hayrides and educational program he offers in schools.
“Pumpkins, people are everywhere,” he said. “It’s kind of tough for Farmer Dan to wear a mask and do a hayride for one kid at a time. The hayride is kind of bumping and jumping and having a good time.”
Not all is lost this season for the Norfolk Farm Market. Haworth still plans on selling Christmas trees.
“Our trees are arranged by height and size,” Haworth said. “When you come buy a tree, you’re usually in your nucleus and you stay with your family.”
He’s ordered nearly 860 different trees of all shapes and sizes from North Carolina that are set to arrive a week before Thanksgiving.
Haworth said while the COVID crisis led to zero pumpkin profits, he’s hoping his trees will sell out and bring people out for a unique buying experience.
“They want the experience, because we’re not just the take your tree and have a great day,” he said.
Haworth hopes the family tradition at his market isn’t lost in the pandemic.
“We have customers that came as children, now they bring their children. It’s fun. I like hearing the kids giggle. I like [hearing] them [say] mommy, mommy, this tree; this is the one I want.”
Norfolk Farm Market is expected to start selling trees on Saturday, Nov. 21.