Trinity Episcopal Church Pumpkin Patch looks back on impacts of Hurricane Nate

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The Trinity Episcopal Church Pumpkin Patch has been providing locals with the perfect pumpkins for 38 years now. Despite previous challenges like Hurricane Nate which scattered pumpkins all across the Coast, locals can’t help but fall in love with it.

Meet Jeanne Tagge, also known as the ‘Pumpkin Lady.’ She runs this patch in Pass Christian. It’s a common stop for locals to pick out their perfect pumpkin. What’s more impressive than the beachside view is how much the community cares about the patch.

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About three years ago, when there was a warning issued for Hurricane Nate, Tagge and her helpers were only able to move the smaller pumpkins. “We left the big pumpkins to fend for themselves and they didn’t do so well.”

Nate’s storm surge picked the pumpkins up and floated them all across the Coast. “Washed them across the road, into the woods, into the water, it was like Easter eggs on the beach.”

Sightings of pumpkins were reported from Gulfport to Bay St. Louis. The pumpkin sale generates a lot of revenue for the church and they were expecting the year to be a complete loss. Because the pumpkins had been knocked around during the storm, the church refused to sell them and instead gave them away for free.

What happened next was a complete shock to the Pass Christian Pumpkin Lady. “People were coming up and saying ‘hey, I took a pumpkin. Here’s a donation.’”

They were able to collect almost what they would make in a typical season despite the hurricane. This year has been a challenge for the patch with shipments being delayed from COVID and the wildfires. “This has been a really rough year. Our first load came in three weeks late and then when we did get them, we sold out in a week.”

Their late return this year had many locals on edge needing this sense of normalcy. “We came back. They were just so excited. They said ‘oh, we’re so happy that you are here. We’re so happy that you came back. We were worried about you.’”

So far, the patch has sold almost 3,000 big pumpkins, not including the little guys or gourds.