Summer heat forces farmers to outsource to fill pumpkin patches

MIDDLETOWN TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- Norm Schultz manages the 300-plus acre Linvilla farm. The current dry conditions responsible for lighter, less-heavy pumpkins this year, but the bigger issue - the very hot days of July.

Schultz says July is a critical time for pumpkins. Pumpkin flowers must be pollinated then in order to bear this familiar fruit in the fall.

"In July there was that big spell where there was seven days with 102, 110 heat index, and they did not set fruit then," said Norm Schultz, farm manager.

Because of that, the field is yielding about half the expected number of pumpkins.

With its big retail operation, Linvilla buys from other farms. But this year's weather has hit other locations as well.

A two-month drought in New England cut yields by 70 percent, while in Seaford, Delaware, a supplier had another problem.

"Too much rain and all his pumpkins rotted. He's actually not going to harvest anything off of 60 acres," said Schultz.

Fortunately for those who dream of Jack-o'-lanterns, there are other places where Mother Nature has been kinder and gentler.

"We will have pumpkins here at Linvilla. I have sources throughout the entire United States. We have gotten them as far as Texas in the United States, and we have a lot of farms we can buy from in Canada," said Schultz.
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