Ohio growers say it's an especially good year for pumpkins; state is 3rd largest producer

IndustriesAssociated Press

The perfect carving pumpkin should be easy to find in Ohio.

Growers say pumpkins across Ohio's fields have been plumped by a moderate summer and just enough sun and rain in August and September. So there should be no shortage of the big orange fruit as it comes into season this week, according to The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1tmBS6d).

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"Everyone should be looking at a pretty decent harvest," said Jim Jasinski, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist who does research on pumpkins.

Ohio is a major pumpkin producer, ranking third in both acres planted and pumpkins produced in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Illinois grows about half the nation's pumpkins, and canned pumpkin giant Libby's has a plant in Morton, Illinois.

Libby's had no problems this year, unlike in 2008 and 2009, when weather ruined crops and caused a shortage of canned pumpkin right before the holidays.

"The crop is a good one this year," said Roz O'Hearn, a spokeswoman for Nestle, which owns Libby's.

The vast majority of pumpkins are grown for processing — but many of the pumpkins being grown in Ohio end up as Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

At Polter's Berry Farm near Fremont in Sandusky County, Steve Polter's 160 acres of pumpkins produced specimens perfect for front stoops, parties and decorative displays, he said. Turning fresh pumpkin into pies and other baked goods is also part of the mix.

"We're having a terrific season," Polter said. "It was dry, which makes for high-quality pumpkins. We only had two days of rain in August. It made for some nice-looking pumpkins."


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com