The slightly dry, cool weather this autumn has made for a strong crop of pumpkins. At one family farm in the Berkshires, these conditions made up for a bad season last year, and then some.
Here at Howden Farm, in the southwestern part of the state just a few minutes’ drive from the Connecticut border, Bruce Howden almost has more pumpkins than he can handle.
“You can pick these pumpkins up by the stem, and you can see this pumpkin probably weights thirty-some pounds or something like that.”
Howden is showing off a wagon-full of plump pumpkins with a deep orange color and strong stems. He says last year’s heavy rains around Labor Day made for overripe pumpkins that rotted quickly. This year, though, they’re just right.
“The crop was fabulous. We have, we have heavy density and gorgeous pumpkins, absolutely gorgeous pumpkins. And there’s just so many of them out there.”
Howden’s results may be better than some of his pumpkin-growing peers: the Pioneer Valley Growers Association is reporting a slightly above-average crop overall, according to MassGrown, a division of the state’s agriculture department.
For pumpkin fans, now’s the time, says Richard LeBlanc of MassGrown.
“Most of the pumpkins are out in the stores, and for those that are at farms open to the public, they’re ready to be picked.”
Massachusetts pumpkins generate an estimated seven point eight million dollars in sales every year, from among 503 growers.