Pumpkin Crop is Healthy This Year, No Shortage in Sight

The effects of this year’s drought in the United States have threatened to diminish our supply of pork, beef and various forms of produce that farmers have been unable to yield in high quantities. However a drought isn’t so bad for all crops, and pumpkins seem to be faring better this year than in recent years when hurricanes and storms plagued many pumpkin crops in Middle America.

A stretch of farmland near Morton, Illinois is where the majority of the nation’s pumpkins are grown. Farmers there say the crop looks great this year, and they will be a small victory beside the other crops scorched by this year’s drought. Elsewhere thousands of cattle were sold off because the pastures their ranchers use for grazing have gone too dry, and corn and soybean farmers lost crops from the long drought. However pumpkins thrive in dry weather, they prefer warm temperate clients that repel fungus and mold that are more prevalent in wet climates.

Most pumpkins are also grown from seeds, which develop complex root systems that go deep into the ground and find water other plants cannot. John Ackerman, a farmer from Morton, Illinois expects a robust crop of pumpkins this year. Ackerman planted about 70 percent of his 30 acres of pumpkins in May, which did very well. He planted the rest of his pumpkins in June and July, and after sitting “in dust for a while” they are finally turning orange now.

In the last few years excess rain has actually hurt American pumpkin production. Nestlé’s affiliate brand Libby’s has a pumpkin-canning plant near Morton, and in 2009 farmers had to leave most of their crop behind after tractors were unable to move in the rain saturated ground. Afterwards a shortage of canned pumpkins led to bidding wars on eBay during holiday season. The summer afterward was the wettest in the history of Illinois, and although Morton was spared the worst, pumpkin production suffered elsewhere throughout the state. Continuing this trend, last year’s pumpkin crop in the Northeast was ravaged by Hurricane Irene and other storms.

After years of struggling pumpkin crops, this year there should be more than enough pumpkins for the holiday season. Nestle produces about 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkin, and the majority of it comes from Morton.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com


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