Carving Pumpkins in Short Supply
If you haven’t bought your Halloween pumpkins yet, it might be time to get a move on. Fewer of the carved treats are likely to be out and about this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which forecasts a down year for pumpkins. Seems scorching weather and lack of rain this season have wiped out crops across the eastern part of the country.
It’s the second year for a decrease in pumpkin production of the $100 million-a-year industry.
Steve Bogash, a horticulture educator at Pennsylvania State University, works with about 1,600 state vegetable growers.
“If you’ve got to have pumpkins for your 5-year-olds, I certainly would not wait a long time to get them,” he says.
Pennsylvania is the nation’s second-largest producer of the orange fruit. Growers there produced a great early crop, Bogash says, while the midseason harvest was a bust and the late-season crop is still in question. The lack of rain in July and August appears to be the culprit.
Standing in his field, Bob Gritt, a farmer in Buffalo, West Virginia, ponders the lack of size and color of his pumpkin crop.
“The color’s not real good on them, and there’s not very many big ones in there,” he says.
Some West Virginia farmers didn’t have a crop at all.
The West Virginia Pumpkin Festival had to import pumpkins for its four-day event in Milton. The festival draws about 40,000 visitors to the area each year.
“I think that anywhere that anybody had irrigation, they got a lot of pumpkins,” says Boyd Meadows, the owner of Milton’s Halfway Markets. “Anybody that did it just planting the pumpkins and depending on Mother Nature to give them water, got a very, very poor crop, if any.”