Pumpkins aplenty: Farmers see the orange, anticipate the green
By Matthew Woo, Memphis Commercial Appeal
September 28, 2008
As state Sen. Mark Norris walked through his pumpkin patch on a recent morning,
he stopped to observe his bountiful harvest with his dog Brinkley.
Photo by: Karen Pulfer Fosht
As state Sen. Mark Norris walked through his pumpkin patch on a recent morning, he stopped to observe his bountiful harvest.
“See, a nice giant pumpkin right there,” said Norris, R-Collierville.
Such a find was rare for some pumpkin farmers last year as a statewide drought nearly wiped out pumpkin crops.
But with cooler temperatures and above-average rainfall this year, area pumpkin patches are seemingly on the rebound.
“Our pumpkin patch is beautiful this year,” said Tom Johnson, owner of Tom’s Farm in Fayette County. “I think this is the best crop and selection that I’ve ever grown.”
So while pumpkin farmers are expecting orange pastures this season, they are also seeing green.
Annually, Tom’s Farm sells thousands of pumpkins to area residents.
Because of last year’s drought, however, Johnson said sales dropped 50 percent. His harvest is producing at peek time to cash in on the Halloween rush this year, and sales are already looking positive.
“Business is starting to pick up,” said Johnson, who credits the heavy rain earlier this year for the healthy crop.
So far, nearly 49 inches of rain has fallen, more than double last year’s total, said Corey Chaskelson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Out at Norris’ patch, nearly a dozen different varieties of pumpkins are blooming.
Although his patch is smaller than previous years and is sprouting a few weeks later than usual, Norris isn’t complaining.
“Last year was a disaster because of the drought,” Norris said. “But I think we’ll have a much bigger yield this year.”