It has been a successful season for California pumpkin production, as growing conditions remained favorable leading up to harvest. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), initial reports for the 2018 pumpkin harvest demonstrate healthy crops in California, as well as the leading pumpkin producing state Illinois.
“We have experienced very moderate temperatures (high 70’s to low 80’s) this fall which has allowed for normal production of pumpkins in California,” President of Van Groningen & Sons Inc., Ryan Van Groningen said in a news release. “With the exception of Oct. 3 when we received 2 to 3 inches of rain in a 45-minute span, our fall has been dry which is quite normal for us.”
California has typically been the fourth largest producer of pumpkins since 2012, with California growers being able to produce an average of approximately 30,000 pounds per acre. Nationally, pumpkin production has mainly focused on jack-o’-lantern type varieties, but interest has been growing in other specialty pumpkins such as Cinderella, White Howden and Blue varieties. With Halloween quickly approaching, supplies remain strong for those still looking to carve pumpkins for the holiday.
“As a grower, estimating how many pumpkins are left to be harvested in the field is an extremely important role to make sure you cover all of your customers’ needs while not leaving pumpkins in the field that will go unsold after Halloween,” said Van Groningen. “This pumpkin season has been a lot of fun because of our volume so no one will be left without a pumpkin!”
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service figures indicate that during the first week of September, retail prices were up six percent from the same time in 2017. However, advertised retail prices at the beginning of October appeared to be slightly lower this year compared to 2017.