Pumpkin growers overcome tough summer to bring in "fantastic" crop

Pumpkin growers are looking forward to Halloween after reporting good crops and yields despite a cooler June and July and a scorching Indian summer.

Pumpkins ready for harvest - image: David Bowman
Pumpkins ready for harvest - image: David Bowman

David Bowman of David Bowman Pumpkins, which claims to be Europe's largest pumpkin grower, said that while a poor summer didn’t help ripening, his 100 pickers were now flat out harvesting around three million of the Harvest Moon variety on his 200ha near Spalding, Lincs.

"The summer was too cold for the pumpkins but late sunshine turned them orange in a few days," he said. "Now we are picking like there’s no tomorrow."

Keith Kendal, manager at CR Melton which grows pumpkins on 40ha in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said: "There have been a few horror stories in the press but our crop is not too bad; on a par with last year.

"Yields can always be better but we had enough cover on the plant to deal with inconsistent weather patterns. We will plan the same acreage next year: you don’t make that much money on them and they take a bit to grow."

Steve Whitworth, sales manager at Oakley Farm, also in Wisbech, said: "We have invested in feed and bespoke harvesting rigs and our crop has been good. Yields are down 5 per cent on last year, but that was an exceptional year and we enjoyed a bumper crop."

And according to Nathan Dellicott, farm director at Barfoots of Botley in Hampshire: "There’s been loads of doom and gloom in the newspapers but our crop has been fantastic."

  • see State of the Industry: Pumpkins & Squashes feature in Horticulture Week 28 October 2011.

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