Carving Pumpkins in Short Supply

| October 26, 2007

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.

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