Hot and dry summer leads to plentiful pumpkin harvest

Hot and dry summer leads to plentiful pumpkin harvest

Hot and dry summer leads to plentiful pumpkin harvest

We’re finally seeing some rain this week, but we all know it’s been hot and dry for most of the summer.

So what do our drought conditions mean for Minnesota’s seasonal pumpkin crop?

For Peter’s Pumpkins in Shakopee, another farmer’s curse has been their blessing as this year’s pumpkin harvest is among the best they’ve seen.

“This year was amazing. We can go out in the field and pick almost 95 to 99% of the pumpkins,” said Peter Marshall.

Despite a summer’s long drought, his harvest of pumpkins is more than plentiful.

“If we got a lot of rain, later in the first or second week of September, these pumpkins would pull in that moisture and then rot from the inside out. I’ve seen that many times,” Marshall said.

Beyond being dry, it’s been warm. With 32 days at or above 90 degrees this year, Marshall says it’s given his pumpkins an extra boost.

“The heat that we get in the evening and in the afternoon can make the pumpkin grow… We get some nights where it’s 70 degrees, a lot of this stuff won’t stop growing, so you can multiply one day and make it two,” he said.

Still, not every pumpkin turned out perfect. Some picked up too much moisture and started to rot.

“This one, you can see it’s real soft. So this one would be one of the 1% that we see out in the field, so we’ll pass that by,” said Marshall.

But he’s looking ahead to the weekend when he opens up for pumpkin seekers to come pick their own from this very patch.

“We’ll have a tractor and a wagon come out here and we’ll create a trail,” he said. “We’ll let them off, people can pick their pumpkins, and then they’ll come back.”

Peter’s Pumpkins is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. and 9 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. through the end of October.