COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A rainy planting season and drier weather later damaged Ohio’s pumpkin crop, though that might affect the selection more than the prices consumers are paying.
Some growers got a double whammy from the weather because after the rain subsided, a dry August further hurt the growth of pumpkins, a crop that is nearly 90 percent water, The (Toledo) Blade reported.
Jim Jasinski, an Ohio State University Extension educator and pumpkin crop expert, said the state’s crop this year might be missing up to one-fifth the usual amount, and he predicted that buyers might see the effect more in the sizing than the cost.
“Prices might be slightly higher, but more likely the prices will remain the same and the fruit will be slightly smaller,” Jasinski said. “If you haven’t gone to the pumpkin patch yet, my advice is to not wait until the last minute.”
This year’s pumpkins didn’t grow to their expected size unless farmers irrigated their fields, The Blade reported.
At Devine Farms in Hebron, co-owner Charla Devine told The Columbus Dispatch the rain caused a “crop failure” and she lost two to three acres of pumpkins that would’ve been sold at her farm stand. That meant she’d have to turn to other growers that had better luck.
One was Brian Neeley of Neeley Farms near Lancaster, who told the Dispatch he planted his crops before the worst of the storms and has had other farmers seeking some of his pumpkins.
“I have people coming in from a 60-mile radius,” Neeley said, “and they are farmers that normally grow pumpkins.”