The delay in H-2B visas for temporary seasonal workers has affected Cape Cod businesses, and although some additional visas have been made available, many companies say they’ve been forced to take the loss. One of those companies, Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth, is missing a big part of its summer staple.

At Connamesset Farm, customers pick their own fruit and vegetables. They visit the animals and shop in the farm store, but for the first time in 20 years they can’t eat the fresh food at the seasonal café that’s open from May until October. Customer Susannah Sullivan says she is disappointed.

“We came to pick and to have lunch, and then we discovered it was closed and we're so sad," Sullivan said.

The café is closed because the people who run it are not here this season. Ron Smolowitz has had the same workers come from Jamaica for decades.

“We get them through an H-2B program, and that program used to have an exemption for returning workers and our workers had been returning for years,” he said. “In September, last year, that exemption was not renewed by Congress.”

The Department of Homeland Security cut the number of visas in half over what they said were “concerns about the visa program’s impact on American workers.”

“The Department of Homeland Security could issue additional visas," Smolowitz said. "They chose not to, until about maybe a week or two ago.”

A week or two ago was too late for the workers, and Smolowitz had already spent thousands in advertising to hire local people.

These jobs pay about $12 an hour and workers go out into the field, pick the food, prepare it and cook it  — something Smolowitz says is hard to get Americans to do.

“I found somebody to act as a cook and paid them really good money," Smolowitz said. "They lasted five weeks. They said it was too much work, they needed more help.”

The closed cafe has a ripple effect on everything at the farm, including Smolowitz’s ability to hire young locals.

“I had three high school students manning the [ice cream] stand. We closed that, because not having the buffets, we don’t have the business,” he said.

Like many other seasonal businesses on Cape Cod, Smolowitz depends on seasonal workers who come to the United States specifically for hospitality jobs. He estimates his loss this year to be about $200,000.

Smolowitz is now depending on his other sources of revenue, like selling produce from his 20-acre farm. While the café is closed this year, and he and his regular customers hope this will be resolved in time for next summer.