Valley growers say the heavy summer rains have cut heavily into their pumpkin crop. 

The shortage of local pumpkins has caused a price rise to consumers. 

"Still, I don't think I've ever seen it so bad," said Alan Ard, of Ard's Farm Market, in Lewisburg on Friday. "Pumpkins don't like rain. I lost a good 50 percent of our pumpkins in four of our patches. When we get rain that originates from the south, it also brings diseases that have caused problems. Not just with pumpkins, but with our corn and soybeans."

There is no shortage of pumpkins at Ards, he said. "We did have some patches that produced a very good crop. There are websites that alert farmers to weather trends and conditions and that allowed us to plan ahead for more than average rains."

Meanwhile, Ard said, "I've seen streams of water on our land at locations that I've never seen before. "

Brian Whitenight, of Whitenight Farm Market, Danville, said that his "yields were not as good as last year. We grow our own. I know that some markets have had to go outside the area to have pumpkins to sell, but not us."

Whitenight carries over 30 varieties of pumpkins, he said. "But the rains definitely had an affect on our crop this year. We still have plenty of pumpkins for people to buy."

Too much rain affected the plants' growth and blossom, explained John Esslinger, Penn State Extension educator. "And because of the moisture there are diseases that will cause the pumpkin to rot. We saw a lot of that this year, and it all happened when the plants were just maturing."

Esslinger explained that typically, a vine might have two blossoms, yielding two pumpkins. Because of the moisture, there was mold and that killed some of the blossoms.

"Across the board, in the Valley and Central Pennsylvania," the total amount of produce was down."

The rains also had an affect on apple growers, Esslinger said. "There was a huge amount of decay. You won't see the difference in your local supermarket or curbside stand, but people who actually pick the apples are having to throw away more than usual."





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