As October quickly approaches, there is some enthusiasm for the coming pumpkin season. Industry members have a positive outlook that despite challenges created by COVID-19, pumpkin demand will remain strong this year. VP of Crops and Soils for Van Groningen and Sons, Bryan Van Groningen expressed optimism that the fast-approaching season for pumpkins will be a good one.
“I believe the pumpkin demand will probably be pretty high. I don’t know if folks will be out and about quite as much. We’re kind of envisioning maybe people being at home a little bit more, possibly maybe carving an extra pumpkin or two and maybe doing a little bit more stuff as a stay-at-home family unit,” Van Groningen explained. “So, I don’t think we have too many concerns going into the September-October season.”
Based in Manteca, Van Groningen and Sons sells their pumpkins under the Pampered Farms label. Come Labor Day, the operation will shift focus from its watermelon production in order to gear up for pumpkin season. The operation is expecting this year to be a strong one in terms of production. Despite Van Groningen’s optimism surrounding pumpkin demand, there are still some concerns within the industry.
“I actually have a good friend who operates a pumpkin patch type of farm and he’s got some concerns just because he’s afraid folks maybe won’t want to be out quite as much, or there might be some social distancing restrictions that he’s under,” said Van Groningen. “I think based off of what we’ve seen so far this year with folks staying at home and maybe doing a little bit more shopping with these retail stores, I don’t really feel like demand is going to be lacking there.”
As Van Groningen mentioned, the typical trip to the pumpkin patch may not be possible this year. However, as other commodities have seen increases in retail sales, the same opportunity is there for pumpkin sales. Pumpkin demand may remain as strong or stronger compared to previous years. With more children and adults home from work and school, mixed with a lack of public events, it presents the potential for increased interest in activities like pumpkin carving.