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Pumpkin harvest: Reports are mixed

    FINGER LAKES—A shortage of pumpkins has been reported in the northeast for this year’s crop. However, according to area pumpkin producers the results locally seem to be more mixed.
    Mary Lilyea, co-owner of a u-pick pumpkin patch in Penn Yan, said they have a limited number of pumpkins.
    “It’s not what we’re used to,” she said, adding they did everything the same.
    Lilyea explained the wet spring made them plant the other crops first. She said the pumpkins were planted between two and three weeks later than usual. She added the crops next suffered “six weeks and not a drop of rain.” Lilyea explained the pumpkin plants experienced very little growth. Lilyea said they do still have pumpkins, but it is a limited supply.
    “It affected all crops. It’s not what we’re used to,” she said, later adding, “when I look over there (at the pumpkin patch), I’m not seeing orange.”
    Tomion’s Farm has a different story to tell. Alan Tomion said that while they too planted pumpkins about three weeks later due to the wet spring, their pumpkins have turned out well. He added that people have been calling from different places asking about pumpkin availability. However, Tomion said that customers won’t come to the market looking for pumpkins until about the second week in October.
    Tomion is currently selling pumpkins at the Finger Lakes Produce Auction. He explained that because of the shortage, the price of pumpkins at the auction have gone up, about 50 percent. Tomion said that large pumpkins his son sold last week went for $14.50 a piece. He added last year those same pumpkins would have gone for about $5.
    “It seems almost every year you hear about a shortage,” said Tomion.
    James Lightfoote, office manager of the Finger Lakes Produce Auction in Penn Yan, said that pumpkins grown east of here were destroyed by the rain. He said that while the auction has always attracted buyers from that area, there seem to be more this year. He added that the overall price of pumpkins sold at the auction is up about 20 percent.
    Lightfoote gave a slightly better picture of pumpkins grown locally. He said the immediate area is doing OK, but it’s “not a great crop. It’s arrived.”




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