augusta free press news

Pumpkin growers report quality crops this season

The Commonwealth’s farmers began harvesting pumpkins around Labor Day and will continue until Halloween, making October the perfect time to visit a farm to pick your own, attend a fall festival or enjoy your favorite pumpkin recipe.

pumpkinsVirginia’s consumers can expect to find pumpkins in just about every size, shape and color, with variety names such as Cinderella, Warty Goblin, Jarradale, Fairy Tale and Blanco, to name a few.

Pumpkins are grown across the state, with most of the commercial pumpkin production in Southwest Virginia where there are higher elevations and cooler temperatures. Actual conditions may vary slightly by region, but many farmers are reporting a good growing season that produced a quality crop with excellent color and stems. In fact, according to a 2016 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) survey, the Commonwealth has approximately 2,300 acres of wholesale pumpkins valued at more than $11 million.

“Virginia is fortunate to have a favorable environment for growing pumpkins, which brings many opportunities for consumers across the state to enjoy fall festivals and pick-your-own pumpkin activities,” said Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Commissioner, Sandy Adams. “I encourage all Virginians to support the Commonwealth’s agricultural industry and their local economy by purchasing Virginia Grown pumpkins.”

To acknowledge the work of Virginia’s pumpkin growers, Governor Terence R. McAuliffe has proclaimed October as Pumpkin Month.

Virginia is home to more than 200 commercial pumpkin growers, according to data from NASS. This figure includes the Commonwealth’s wholesale growers, as well as many pick-your-own pumpkin farms that sell directly to consumers.