Local farms produce fewer pumpkins this year
NEW GLASGOW – Some farmers in Pictou County aren’t reaping what they’re sowing.
© JOHN BRANNEN - THE NEWS
Ken Chisholm, left and Kathy Wilson of Firefly Farm in Lorne show off one of their pumpkins at the New Glasgow Farmers Market. Farms in the area have less pumpkins, squash and zucchini this year due to adverse weather and cucumber beetle.
Pumpkins, a pillar in Halloween decorations and activities, and other squash crops have been beset with problems this year.
Ken Chisholm and Kathy Wilson of Firefly Farm in Lorne have historically, grown a bounty of pumpkins that they sold from their farm and at the New Glasgow Farmers Market. This year however, an uninvited guest has plagued the harvest.
“Cucumber beetles have taken their toll,” said Chisholm. “It affects cucumber, of course, squash, zucchini and pumpkins.”
The farm, which produces organically grown vegetables, buys some of their seeds from Vesey’s but they were no match for Mother Nature. Last year, they had so many zucchini, they brought a truck load to the food bank.
Not this year.
“Crops for pumpkins were terrible this year,” said Susan Langille of Lakenman’s Farm Market in Pictou. “It’s been very dry and there’s just been poor pollination in the vine crops.”
For Langille, the pumpkin crop is down about 75 per cent from last year which doesn’t bode well for those looking for local vegetables to carve into jack-o-lanterns.
Chisholm and Wilson said the pumpkins they do have come in all shapes and sizes, from the purely ornamental to the carvable.
“We have several 15 pound pumpkins,” he said.
Wilson noted that while they’re traditionally used just for Halloween carving, pumpkins are a source for several delicious foods.
“Pumpkin pie, soup, and cheesecake to name a few,” said Wilson. “Think twice before you throw the insides of a pumpkin out. The seeds are delicious as well.”
To repel the cucumber beetle, the pair could have bought a pesticide, which would have violated their organic policy. They hope for next year to have other plants or insects to ward off the beetles.
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