Plenty of Pumpkin

Dan General, Vegetables

Cathy Isom tells us why we shouldn’t have a problem picking out the perfect pumpkin to make our jack-o-lantern for our Halloween festivities this year. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

There will be no shortage of pumpkins for Halloween or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year! That’s according to Illinois plant pathologist Mohammad Bobadoost who says the pumpkin crop in Illinois had enough rain, but not too much and pumpkintemperatures were warm and dry, which pumpkins love. Illinois is the country’s top pumpkin-producing state. About 90 percent of the pumpkins grown in the U.S. come from the Prairie State. There was one hiccup this year. That was in mid-August when the fast-spreading fungus downy mildew appeared in some fields. But experts say it was confined to a small area. Last year’s U.S. pumpkin harvest totaled 754 million pounds valued at $90 million, the smallest crop since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began tracking the sector in 2000. Pumpkins are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes squash, watermelons, gourds and cucumbers.