2008 Pennsylvania pumpkins smaller due to low rainfall

September 25, 2008

Many Pennsylvania pumpkins this year may not be big enough to carry Cinderella to the ball, but that doesn’t mean doorsteps will display a sad crop of jack-o-lanterns either, according to a Penn State horticulture specialist.
"This year’s pumpkin crop in Pennsylvania certainly will not break any records,” said Mike Orzolek, professor of vegetable crops in the College of Agricultural Sciences. "This season’s pumpkins will be smaller than in previous years, and the size differences will be especially noticeable in the medium-to-large-size pumpkins that range from 18 to more than 25 pounds."
Orzolek blames the smaller gourds on the dry weather that Pennsylvania experienced in late July and August, in addition to a cool summer. “Pumpkin size will vary across the state, depending on how dry it was in different regions and how much irrigation was applied during the growing season,” he said. "So areas of the state that have seen a lack of water over the summer can anticipate seeing smaller jack-o-lanterns this Halloween."
Yet despite these smaller sizes, the Pennsylvania pumpkin market will see high demand. The state ranks as the second-largest pumpkin grower in the country, with approximately 8,000 acres planted. With the extreme weather this year in the Midwest, Orzolek expects Pennsylvania growers to be shipping the festive fruit across state borders.
"The quality of the pumpkins this year should be anywhere from good to excellent, with most pumpkins of healthy color and desirable shape,” he said. “Consumers can expect considerable uniformity in crop quality throughout the entire state. There should be at least one pumpkin at any market that most any consumer will find is just right for them.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009