If 2012 wasn't good for anything else, it apparently was a good year for pumpkins. Local agri-tourism and u-pick pumpkin patches were awash in pumpkins, and sales were good, one farmer reports. He sells form a market and also marketed his crop through a local family farm that hosted an agri-tourism venture during October.
"They moved a lot of pumpkins," John Taylor, Greenwood, says. The rest of the market year was not as kind for Taylor, who has developed a successful farm market on his own farm. He is located near an Interstate within driving distance of big suburban and urban populations.
While his green bean crop sizzled under the heat, his pumpkin crop did well toward the end of the season, after rains returned to his farm. Pumpkins were also plentiful at AppleWorks, an orchard and family fun destination spot, in extreme southern Johnson County. They charge for a hayride to the pumpkin patch, then charge for the pumpkins. And what's good for them, on weekends, it can be a half hour wait just to get on a wagon to go to the pumpkin patch.
Irrigation and spraying no doubt helped some bring the pumpkin crop to harvest. But if you think back only a couple of years, commercial pumpkin growers had a bad year, and there was a shortage of canned pumpkin for pies in the store. This year those same stores have not only pumpkin, but all kinds of cakes, cookies and breads featuring pumpkin.
Halloween may be over, but Thanksgiving is still on the way. The pumpkin has become part of both traditions. Most specialty growers now don't just grow jack-o-lanterns, they also grow white pumpkins, 'fairy tale' pumpkins which are a combination of white and yellow striping, and many more, including pumpkins for Halloween that have what looks like warts on the surface.
"We've taken out a lot of pumpkins and it still looks like we haven't been in the field," Taylor says. "It was a good year for pumpkins."