October 4, 2009

Pumpkin crop limited by poor weather

Farmers in eastern U.S. states like Massachusetts and Maine are seeing limited pumpkin crops due to bad weather in 2009, industry officials say.

Lauchlin Titus, Maine Vegetable and Small Fruit Growers Association president, said while states to the west have enjoyed successful pumpkin crops this year, New England farmers are facing tough times, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

It's been such a horrible growing season,'' Titus said. The growers I've talked to do not remember a year as bad as this.''

Thanks to extreme heat in August in New England and wet weather during June and July, the overall pumpkin yield in Maine alone is expected to reach 50 percent this fall.

That drop in pumpkin yield could cost farmers in the eastern state an estimated $1 million this year, the Globe said.

Such declines are particularly detrimental to New England growers as pumpkin sales count for $15 million of the overall New England economy each year, U.S. Department of Agriculture official Gary Lucier told the Globe.

There are fall festivals, urban pumpkin patches, things of that nature,'' the agricultural economist said. Halloween in general has become a bigger holiday.''