MORTON, Ill. — Local farmers are weighing in on the health of the pumpkin crops after less than ideal growing conditions earlier this year.
Consumers can still buy their jack-o-lantern materials from the pumpkin capital of the world, but farmers agree this hasn’t been the best year for growing.
Pumpkin farmers are reaping their harvest after facing tough planting conditions in the spring and summer.
“Because of all of the rain, we didn’t plant exactly when we wanted to, but we had enough time to get them into the ground, and get those vines to take off and grow and set fruit on them,” said Nic Roth, co-owner of Roth Pumpkin Patch.
Roth says he’s optimistic about how the harvest will turn out.
“We have some real nice big ones out there that are probably gonna be, maybe over 200 pounds, or close to it, we try to dabble in that. We’ve got some other varieties that are maybe 60 to 80 pounds also, so we’ve got some nice sized ones,” said Roth.
Peoria County Farm Bureau manager Patrick Kirchhoffer says this year’s harvest is looking healthy, and a dry stretch over the summer helped prepare pumpkins for the factory.
“They’re clean, it’s not muddy, so that’s a good thing. A lot of times in the fall, you know, whenever harvest has come around, it can be muddy. And they have to harvest the pumpkins whether it’s muddy or not. So, that is a positive this year that the conditions are drier and they’re coming into the processing facilities without any mud on them and they’re clean,” said Kirchhoffer.
Kirchoffer also says this year is considered an average yield for pumpkins.
“A typical harvest for pumpkins is 25 tons per acre, which is a good harvest. Last year it was around 33 tons per acre which is a great year,” he said.
Kirchhoffer says harvest could last through mid-November due to all the delays.