AQUEBOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Pumpkin prices were way up and farmers were counting their losses at this time last year, but picture-perfect growing weather has provided a much sunnier outlook a year later.
As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday, picking the perfect pumpkin has still been tough this season, but the reason is because there have been so many to choose from. Farmers on Long Island have been counting their blessings – and their profits – from their bust pumpkin crop in years.
“It’s been a pretty darn good year –- super weather, and super sales, and a great crop,” said Jim Stakey of Stakey’s Pumpkin Farm on the North Fork of Long Island.
Stakey, a third-generation farmer, showed CBS 2 his farm, where most of the crop has already sold. Last year, unprecedented rainfall and soil disease did in his entire 26 acres, and all 18 varieties of pumpkins rotted on the vine.
“Last year really hurt,” he said. “I lost basically lost my whole crop.”
But he said the dry, sunny summer this year paid him back.
Suffolk County produces the most pumpkins in New York state, and the state produces the most in the country. So when the crop here is soaked and diseased, it is a year of work down the drain for about 50 local farms.
Last year, pick-your-own farmers on Long Island had to ship in pumpkins from out of state, and ate the losses. Thus, this successful season has been sweeter than ever.
“Farming is a business, and they have to be profitable to keep the land in farming,” said Joe Gergella III of the Long Island Farm Bureau, “so it’s very important that they make a few bucks this years.”
And when farmers are happy, so are customers. There is something special about pumpkins.
“The festivities, the jack-o-lanterns – we’re going to go home tonight and cook the seeds,” said Tim Bobot of Miller Place. “It just gives a good sense of family enjoyment.”
Good, healthy pumpkins also last longer, because they haven’t absorbed too much water.
There are two more weekends left to pick your own pumpkins. A sum of $25 pays for all you can carry.
Have you picked up any pumpkins this year, and have they met your expectations? Tell us about it below…