A south Yuba County tradition opened in full force on Saturday – the 48th edition of the fall season at Bishop’s Family Pumpkin Farm.
The popular local tourist destination in Wheatland will be open through Nov. 9 and offers temporary employment to a host of workers.
Meghan Sanderson, a third-generation member of the Bishop’s family, said more than a third of the farm’s work force is first-time employees.
“It’s always a core value of ours to educate,” Sanderson said. “We take being employers to young adults very seriously and we want to teach them what’s important as an employee (starting) now and for the rest of their careers. It gives them an opportunity to learn (a) skill set.”
Sanderson said the farm’s employees work a variety of jobs, ranging from food service to simply cleaning the day-to-day operations.
Christopher Kelly, 16, was helping to man the kettle corn stand on opening day.
He said the farm, which he traveled to many times as a youngster, is a family-friendly environment.
“Everybody is nice to each other,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who will mostly be packaging and selling the kettle corn this fall, said the opportunity to work at Bishop’s will benefit him immensely as he navigates an altered work force adjusting to life in a pandemic.
In addition to the variety of available food and beverages, Bishop’s offers plenty of entertainment like pumpkin fields, a sunflower stroll and corn maze, all of which are face-mask-free zones this fall.
There’s also a zipline that was extremely active with multiple users on Saturday. The zipline is located in an area that allows for an easy way to socially distance between parties.
“We focused on all our new fun outdoor activities,” Sanderson said.
As part of the preparation to open the pumpkin farm in the middle of a pandemic, Sanderson said the plan was to mitigate the risk for both guests and employees.
Employees all wear masks and go through a daily screening that includes a temperature check prior to clocking in for work.
As for the farm’s guests, Sanderson said anyone feeling sick or who has possibly been exposed to COVID are asked to delay their visit to Bishop’s.
Overall, day one was overwhelmingly positive for everyone who made the trek to Wheatland, with much more in store as the fall season moves forward.
“What they (Bishop’s) have is beneficial and we just wanted to get out of the house,” said Kelly Smith, while visiting the farm with her Plumas Lake family.