A wonderland of beautiful flowers in every shade and style has made the Coastal Ridge Farm in Picayune a fabulous local destination. With a field of wildflowers of vibrant pinks, luscious violets, and every color of the rainbow, springtime at the farm makes you feel as if you stepped into that iconic scene from “Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy and her friends passed through on their way to the city of Oz. In the fall, gorgeous sunflowers taller than you can imagine reach up to the sunshine bringing their sunny disposition to anyone who visits.
Although the Coastal Ridge Farm in Picayune is now known for its beauty and family friendly atmosphere they bring to the Coastal region, there’s a little bit of history behind how the flower field farm of Terri and David Doyle came about.
“My husband David (Doyle) and I moved to the Picayune area in the early 80’s,” Terri Doyle said. “We were newly married, and his family was moving their dairy farm business from rural upstate New York to Hancock County. We dairy-ed until Hurricane Katrina in 2005.”
The next year, they sold their dairy cows but continued various farming ventures, including hay, vegetables, and cut flowers. They sold cut flowers to different venues until the fall of 2018 when they decided to open some sunflower fields to the public for visitors to admire, pick a few flowers, and for photography sessions as well.
Currently the farm offers two Flower Field seasons each year, spring and fall with approximate dates in May and June and mid-September to October for sunflower season. They have developed a unique experience at their farm, as many other farms throughout the state are only known for their sunflower seasons. Both seasons are so beautiful, it’s impossible to decide which season of these lovely flowers to like best.
“Early spring flowers include various wildflowers. Sunflowers usually start mid-May, and zinnias are in full swing by late May,” Terri Doyle said. “Fall brings sunflowers and zinnias again, with the addition of cosmos, marigolds, autumn grains, and celosia. We don’t have flowers blooming in July, August, or the winter. Exact open dates are controlled by nature.”
To enjoy these fields filled with gorgeous, vibrant shades throughout most of the year, it takes quite a bit of work to bring this immense beauty to the farm. “This is our full-time business,” Terri Doyle said. “Farming like this requires huge amounts of behind the scenes work hours. We typically log 600 plus tractor hours and 300 mowing hours to prune and maintain our two Flower Field seasons. Seed sourcing and planning takes a lot of time, and there is always paperwork and record-keeping.”
July and August are spent turning under the spring crops and replanting for the fall season which makes for a “very tight turnaround window.” After the fall crops are finished, the Doyles plant a winter cover crop that is used for soil improvement. Terri Doyle said that improving the soil is one of their most important goals, and the off season gives them time for a much-needed rest.
Coastal Ridge Farms is gorgeous no matter the season, and the Doyles would love to invite everyone to come spend the day with family and friends. “Coastal Ridge Farms is a great place for family outings and family pictures,” Terri Doyle said. “There is plenty of fresh air to breathe and a chance to just wander through the flower fields and relax. You might be lucky enough to see beautiful butterflies, songbirds, crows, wild turkeys, and occasional hummingbirds.”
Doyle suggests visitors to bring a clean bucket and clippers to take a few mementos home, and don’t forget your camera. This is a gorgeous place that you’ll want to take lots of pictures!
The farm will open back up during mid-September when the sunflowers and other beauties start blooming. Terri Doyle suggested checking out their website or Facebook page to check on the weather before you head out on your adventure on the farm. For more information, visit their website at Coastal Ridge Farm – Home .
*Photo courtesy of Terry Doyles Coastal Ridge Farm.