HOOKERTON, N.C. (WNCT) – As we flip the calendar ahead to October, demand for pumpkins starts going up. Locally grown pumpkins have had a tough time this season due to the weather. Stephen Porter of Porter Farms has been growing them for nearly 25 years.
“It was a hot summer,” said Porter. “The crop pollinated fine but the fruit actually grew so fast, it matured so fast that some of the size is a little bit smaller.”
The popular jack-o-lantern variety is the main type being affected.
A summer of extreme heat isn’t the only thing affecting this year’s pumpkin crop. Rain that just never seems to go away has also taken a toll.
“The rains deteriorated the vines a little bit,” said Porter. “The fruit is fine as long as the sun comes back out and dries things up.”
Recent rains have led to some disease and rot, but Hermine’s visit to the East in early September caused the most damage. Vines withered, leaving the fruit exposed to the elements a little earlier than normal. Now it’s just a race against the clock before the rain returns.
“Right now ahead of Matthew we’re wide open,” said Porter. “We’re filling the shelters up and getting them out of the field. Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll have 80-percent of our pumpkins harvested and in boxes.”
Despite the complications, Porter doesn’t expect much of a drop in pumpkins harvested this year.