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Small pumpkin harvest shows effects of record summer heat

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Oct 21st, 2013 @ 6:59pm

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FARMINGTON — Some Utah farmers blame the summer's record heat for the weaker crop this fall. The pumpkins are smaller, the farmers say, and that mean less money coming in.

At Pack Farms in Farmington, co-owner DeVan Pack said the typical pumpkin is about the size of a volleyball. While some very tight water restrictions over the summer made things tough, he said it's the heat that really did his crop in.

"Because the year was so hot, they didn't grow very well," Pack said. "The 100-degree (Fahrenheit) days were not good for the pumpkins, but even worse was the fact that the nights didn't get down below the high 70s."

There are also fewer of them to sell.

Despite the heat, some of the larger farms in northern Utah found alternative ways to grow some larger pumpkins.

Tom Favero, co-owner of the Favero Farm in West Haven, said he is getting plenty of big pumpkins, but it wasn't easy.

"We had to not water some of the Alfalfa and some of the grass," Favero said. "This is by far been the worst year since '77."

Luckily for Pack Farms, some customers don't mind the smaller gourds.

"They don't really care what size they are, as long as they get to pick them and put them in the bucket and go," said Jen Ellington, who brought her children to Pack's pumpkin patch Monday.

For others, Pack Farms has started bringing in some larger pumpkins from other fields — but they tend to go fast.

Some of the larger farms that were able to survive the summer better are suppliers for grocery stores, so you'll be more likely to find the big pumpkins at the store.


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