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Friday, September 22, 2006

Where have all the pumpkins gone?

REGION

A soggy spring is coming back to haunt local farmers who say their pumpkin harvests are frightfully small with Halloween right around the corner.

“Our problem was that we just could not get the seeds in the ground to get the pumpkins to come in by this time. Twenty-two days of rain in June is not good for pumpkins,” said Laura Tangerini, owner of
Tangerini’s Spring Street Farm in Millis.

Tangerini Farms picked about 25 bins of pumpkins this year, about half a normal harvest. As a result, Tangerini said, she’ll have the future jack-o-lanterns trucked in from as far away as Canada and raise prices 4 cents a pound to 49 cents a pound.

Pumpkins typically are planted after Memorial Day and during the first two weeks of June.

“It was a wet June, and after a lot of the seeds got planted it rained and they rotted. They didn’t germinate. That was the problem,” said Gerard Beirne, owner of Berlin Orchards.

Sunshine Farms in Framingham picked about a quarter of the pumpkins it does in a normal year, said owner Jim Geoghegan.

“There’s plenty of pumpkins to start with, but who knows what’s going to happen. I wouldn’t wait until the day before Halloween to get my pumpkin,” Geoghegan advised.

-- Thomas Caywood

pumpkin.jpg

(A 666-pound prizewinner in Victor, Montana, taken earlier this week, AP Photo/The Missoulian, Michael Gallacher)

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