COLLINS, MS (WDAM) - Main Street in Collins is described by many as the quintessential town, and just a short ride from there is a farm that is just as magical.
"When they come to Mitchell Farms, they're free," said owner Nelda Mitchell.
Mitchell and her husband Dennis bought the land in 1960. They were high school sweethearts, both from the area. Dennis went to Mississippi State, and after graduation, began his dream of a row-crop farm right on that land.
"He was not able to get in a good crop that year, but we borrowed money from the local bank and bought some beef cows," said Nelda.
Over the course of 54 years, their home and business have evolved.
"We don't have any more beef cows on the farm, and we don't grow cotton anymore," said Mitchell.
The Mitchells started the agritourism business in 2006, when one of their daughter-in-laws decided they could make money off of farm tours, pumpkin patches and corn mazes.
"We had this sand pile right here with a one-rope swing, two port-a-potties, and we put up a tent and put a corn-pool under it," said Nelda of the humble beginnings.
Mitchell Farms attracts well over 25,000 people each year, and it's safe to say that most of those come during the fall for the pumpkin patches and the corn mazes. However, people frequent the farm year-round, with a venue for weddings, birthday parties, and farm tours available each season.
The farm is surrounded by log cabins, each filled with antiques- everything from Nelda's woodwork, to hammers, to over 2,000 cast iron skillets from her collection.
"From day one, we had collectibles hanging on the walls," said Nelda.
Some of the cabins were renovated, others were built by the Mitchells years later.
"Hurricane Katrina put all of that on the ground," said Nelda as she pointed to a cabin made from what started out as a Christmas tree farm. "All except the tin roof."
It's a fun place and a history lesson, all in one. The headquarters are located on a stretch of Andrew Jackson's Military Road. Whether your interest is the goat palace or the trinkets, Mitchell Farms is a place for everyone.
"Come look around, and see what it's like," said Nelda. "You might like it."
For more information on Mitchell Farms, visit http://www.mitchellfarms-ms.com.