Bumper pumpkin crop harvested despite drought - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Bumper pumpkin crop harvested despite drought

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Across most of the Midwest there are fewer pumpkins, and the sizes are smaller. This is leading to a steep price jump, but that isn't the case here at home. Paul Fleitz said, "pumpkins don't really like one hundred degree temperatures so we were ferreting it a little bit."

The same growing season that squashed the corn crop this year gave local pumpkins a boost. Paul fleitz is the owner of Fleitz Pumpkin Farms in Oregon, OH. He says it wasn't necessarily the amount of rain that helped as much as the rain's perfect timing. "July was really dry and the plants didn't really do a whole lot but august we got a lot of rain and the plants just went crazy and we ended up with our best crop we have ever had".

Just as the plants were producing pumpkins in august, mother nature provided 5" of rainfall which is nearly 2" above normal. Now fleitz has a dense field dotted with tens of thousands of pumpkins, gourds and squash. Fleitz said, "they are actually bigger than normal if you can believe that. It is crazy but we just had a super crop".

This is taking place at the same time the national average for pumpkins are jumping up to 30 percent due to the severe summer drought. Locally the price for jack O lanterns and pumpkin pies are about the same if you buy local. Fleitz said, "well we've got lots of pumpkins so we surely aren't going to raise the price; we will just keep it like we have had it in the past".

Fleitz pumpkin farms are just one of several pumpkin farms in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio that are in good shape. Despite the drought, all of the local farms that we talked to are having a bumper crop.

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