Pumpkin picking shortage in the Midstate

pumpkin

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Despite the big, 50-pound pumpkins at Strites’ Orchard, this year’s crop size is actually smaller. For children, pumpkin picking is a fall fairy-tale, but for farmers, this year’s crop has been a nightmare.

Strites’ Orchard farmer John Strite says compared to last year, their crop this year has gone down 25 to 30 percent in quantity.

According to ABC27 Meteorologist Brett Thackara, our area has had 46 days of 90-degree heat.

“Our average is 21 days,” Thackara said, “so we’ve more than doubled our average of 90-degree days this year.”

Strite explained that it’s a delicate balance because pumpkins love hot weather. However, if it gets too hot, the pollination stops.

“When you get in the upper 90’s like we did in a lot of July and August, things weren’t pollinating,” Strite said. “On pumpkins, you have a male flower and female flower. The bees have to get from one flower to the other and the pollen just can’t pollinate the flowers when it’s that hot.”

Despite numbers being down, Strites’ Orchard still have 10 football fields worth of soon to be jack-o-lanterns to choose from. Strites’ farmers say although the quantity of their crop is down, the quality of the crop is one of their best.

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