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TRI-COUNTY AREA   ADVERTISEMENT

Local pumpkin harvest is less this year

TRI-COUNTY AREA—Whether it’s at the grocery store or just along the side of the road, it’s clear the pumpkin harvest has started.
Judson Reid, vegetable specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension, said that from now until mid-October is the usual harvest time for pumpkins. However, he added that like many crops this year, the weather has had a negative impact.
“Yields are down a little over last year,” he said. “But at the same time, real nice size,” he added about the individual pumpkins.
Leonard Hoover, a farmer in Reading Center, said so far his crop is half of what it was last year. He said that the threat of disease was higher this year. However, Gary Lilyea, a farmer and owner of a pumpkin patch in Penn Yan, added that the pumpkins he is bringing out of the field are still good quality. Reid said the diseases pumpkins faced this year included powdery mildew and downy mildew.
“There was too much rain in June and not enough in August,” said Lilyea.
Another problem was weeds. Reid said that because of the rain, farmers could not always get out to the fields. The weeds then had the chance to grow unchecked, competing with the pumpkins for nutrients.
“There was probably a loss of a fair amount of nitrogen (in the soil) during that time,” Reid said.
He added the weather also harmed the pumpkins by over-saturating the roots in the rainy months. Reid said the end result was early maturity in some pumpkins.
Even with all of that working to decrease the pumpkin crops this year, both Reid and Hoover said they have not seen an increase in prices for pumpkins. Reid said wholesale prices are up a little and he was surprised that retail prices haven’t changed. Hoover said they were just feeling out the market and any noticeable change in prices wouldn’t be seen for a couple more weeks.
Reid said the pumpkins grown in this area include Phat Jack, Magic Lantern, Jack Be Little, Wee-Be Little, and the classic Howen pumpkin.
 





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