Pumpkins are early, ready now
FINGER LAKES—The weather has made many crops ready for harvest early, and pumpkins are no exception.
However, when it comes to pumpkins, there is a limited time people want to buy the orange gourds. Already, roadside stands and farmer’s markets have featured ripe pumpkins for sale.
Harvey Leid, pumpkin grower and seller, explained pumpkins have indeed been early this year. He pointed out one farmer he knew that had ripe pumpkins in July.
Leid added that pumpkins won’t keep once the vines die. He explained though that the vines die down when the pumpkins are mature.
Leid and other growers have been taking big box loads of pumpkins to the Finger Lakes Produce Auction in Penn Yan. There, they are sold wholesale. Leid explained that wholesale purchasers want to buy about two weeks before selling them to the public. The pumpkins sold at the auction are then distributed throughout the state, to Binghamton, Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and even Pennsylvania.
He said demand for pumpkins is highest in mid-September through the first week of October. After mid-October, that demand for wholesale pumpkins is down.
Crystal Tomion, of Tomion Farms, said the pumpkin harvest is between two and three weeks early. She said the pumpkins now are firm and look good, but are still early. Despite it being September, Tomion said people have shown interest in buying pumpkins.
However, if the ripe pumpkins are going to last through October, the weather will have to cooperate. Tomion explained, “I hope it’s not a warm month. Only time can tell.” She said if the weather stays cooler, the pumpkins will last until more people want to purchase them.
Jill Henderson, of Henderson’s Produce, said she knows other growers who have early pumpkins. However, she said theirs are still ripening due to a late May planting. Henderson explained that they planted the seeds Memorial Day weekend, and other growers did it in early May.
“We’ll have them through Halloween,” said Henderson.