Some pumpkin farms say harvest is light due to summer drought

WEST BEND -- Halloween is a little over a month away, and with cooler temperatures slowly entering southeastern Wisconsin -- many are thinking fall in terms of decor and food. Following this summer's devastating drought, there are concerns over this fall's pumpkin crop.

Pumpkins are in high demand during October and November, for eating, carving and decorating.

Rick Takacs of Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm in West Bend told FOX6 News after the first harvest of the season, the quality of pumpkins at his farm are great, but the quantity isn't what it should be.

"We're probably down about 40-50% of our pumpkin crop," Takacs said.

Takacs said though the pumpkins that came out of the ground and survived the drought look good, they did require some extra effort when it came to tending to the growing crops this summer.

"They did have trouble surviving. We did water and irrigate some of our pumpkin fields and they look terrific," Takacs said.

Takacs said because of the drought, his farm won't be supplying pumpkins commercially this season.

"We will not have pumpkins to ship to the roadside markets and stands around Milwaukee and Madison, but we are going to have a very adequate and very nice supply," Takacs said.

Takacs suggests pumpkin lovers get a jump start on the season. Tips include choosing a pumpkin with a hearty stem and hard shell. Pumpkins can last up to six months if stored properly.

"Keep the pumpkin at a temperature range of 40-60 degrees to keep the humidity at 40-60 percent. Don`t ever take your pumpkin and set it on the gravel. Setting it on the concrete, there`s a little chance of a stone being between the pumpkin and the concrete. As soon as you get that prick in the skin, that is the beginning of the end of your pumpkin," Takacs said.

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