Three years ago, the Hendrix family opened their agritourism business in Newberry County. Then Hurricane Matthew hit.
Coupled with administrative delays and storm damage, Do-Si-Jo’s Corn Maze opened for a shortened season in 2016.
Encouraged by the response, the Hendrix family decided to cut a corn maze for a second year. Then came Hurricane Irma, blowing down 75 percent of their professionally-designed and cut corn maze.
“You come out and you see the work that you’ve done and it’s very disappointing,” Joleen Hendrix said. “But you think, in your heart, you’re just like, ‘Thank you, Lord, for sparing us.’ If the damage in the corn maze is all we experience, that is so much less than a lot of people had.”
So the Hendrix’s made lemonade out of Irma’s lemons.
“We turned it into a laughing matter for us and called it ‘Laughing Stalks,'” she said. “We put some jokes in the corn maze and just try to have a good time with it and we were really pleased with the turnout last year.”
When they saw Hurricane Florence headed toward South Carolina in September, the Hendrixes tried protecting the corn with bales of hay. But the storm’s track shifted and the wind came from the opposite direction.
“Of course, coming over after this storm we saw the damage,” she said. “But we’re again grateful that our homes, our lives, were spared and our thoughts were with all of those who were experiencing greater damage than us.”
The corn did not suffer as much damage from Florence as it had in the two previous years. Despite the damage, Hendrix said attendance has grown each year.
“We’ve experienced a lot of adversity. But you learn to take the good with the bad and learn to make the best of the situation,” she said.
In Conway, the corn maze and pumpkin patch at Thompson Farm and Nursery survived the wrath of Florence.
“We are working on getting everything ready to open the 5th. We are so blessed we came out unharmed,” Thompson Farm posted in a message on Facebook.
The nearby city of Conway suffered extreme flooding from the rains from Florence. Horry County is one of eight South Carolina counties whose farmers suffered an estimated agricultural loss of $125 million.