Local News

Bring Along Lots of Luck and Money in Your Search for the Great Pumpkin

Posted September 28, 1999

— If you want a big pumpkin this Halloween, you better start your search now, and bring more money along with you. That is because the weather has been downright frightful for this year's crop.

Curtis Bennett's pumpkins for sale look pretty good at first glance. But look closer, and you will learn it is one of the worst crops he has had in the last 20 years.

Bennett's 14 acres usually yield about 8,000 pumpkins; this year he has about 1,000.

The crop is so bad, he cannot sell any of the pumpkins wholesale because he will lose too much money.

"I've already had two or three trucks, I had one a while ago that wanted a load. And they wanted them cheap too, and you can't afford to do it when you don't get none," he says.

This year's pumpkin crop got hit by a weather double whammy. The consecutive days of dry, hot weather stunted the growth of many of them. Now, at harvest time, the soggy, wet soil means it is hard for farmers to get to the pumpkins. Some are already rotting.

"The weather just beat me to death. That's what happened," says pumpkin grower Preston Frye.

Pumpkin growers throughout the state are experiencing the same problems. That means there will not be many big pumpkins available, and the ones already on the market will cost about 30 percent more than they did last year.

"It's terrible. It's really hard to explain what it's like. It's like losing everything," says Frye. "You'll go out and try one thing and it falls and you try again and it falls on you. But I'm a guy that's used to falling and I get up and keep trying again."

Pumpkin growers say all they can do now is hope for dry weather and better luck next year.

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