Fall is here but challenges persist for Chester County farmers

Families were all smiles at Milky Way Farm in Chester Springs on Sunday, which just kicked off its pumpkin harvest season.
CHESTER SPRINGS, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Bring out the sweaters, the crisp air is here and so is fall.

"The colors, the pumpkins and the kids. The families get to get together," said Mauro Suin of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. "It's a really nice season to be together as a community."

"My favorite part of fall is probably just the leaves changing and just the whole atmosphere just gets colder," said Grace Lamprinos of West Chester, Pa.

Families were all smiles at Milky Way Farm in Chester Springs, Chester County on Sunday, which just kicked off its pumpkin harvest season. But the farm's revenue has taken a beating due to COVID-19 and a school bus driver shortage. It has led to a 90% loss in school visits.

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"We've heard from schools that they're having a hard time securing buses to bring children to the farm for field trips," said Jane Ferris, manager of the Fall Harvest Crew at Milky Way Farm. "Financially, that's had a huge impact to our business so we've tried to find other ways to be creative to reduce costs as well."

Ferris says the hurricane season drowned a lot of crops for farmers in the region and supply chain shortages abroad are having a domino effect at the farm's creamery.

SEE ALSO: Supply chain issues already threaten prices of holiday gifts, Christmas trees

"Everyone is excited to be sort of back and have all kinds of normalcy and yet things aren't really normal from the production perspective," said Carolyn Eaglehouse, president of the Chester Springs Creamery. "We've had some issues with our ingredients. We've had some things made in Italy and we know Italy has been challenged getting those shipments in. They're getting stuck on containers. They've had issues with Covid-19 and the boats."

But despite the challenges after a long 2020, visitors like the Vendetta-Spahr family, including all nine siblings, reunited after the pandemic kept them apart.

"The fact that we even get to be together now, they're able to come and travel out here, is literally a blessing," said Olivia Vendetti-Spahr of Chester Springs.

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