Sask. pumpkin crop experiences rough patch

By Nigel Maxwell
October 8, 2018 - 10:34am

Mother nature has carved a path of destruction through Saskatchewan's pumpkin crop, and some families may notice the impact at their dinner table.

Producers have told paNOW there may be a shortage of pumpkins available in stores due to the early arrival of frost in September and added precipitation. 

George Lewko at Paintball Paradise near Prince Albert normally grows 3,000 pumpkins each year, which get snatched up quickly by local families. He said the early frost and snow put a halt to the pumpkin's growth potential.

"You know smaller pumpkins don't sell for as many dollars as the big pumpkins. We have lots of tiny pumpkins so it definitely hurts what the potential is for income," he said.
Last weekend, Paintball Paradise hosted their annual pumpkin music festival. Lewko said the benefit to having smaller pumpkins is they attract families.
"We get families coming out with little kids. The kids like picking little pumpkins because the big pumpkins they can't carry," he said.
Wayne Gienow runs a much larger operation near Lumsden at Lincoln Gardens. He has about 50 acres dedicated to pumpkins, which produces upwards of 80,000 pumpkins each year. He said mother nature has not been helpful the past couple months.
"It's been four weeks without sun basically and we had really cold nights and so a lot of the [pumpkins] were damaged and they are just going to stay out there [in the field]," he said.
Thankfully Gienow's crop is insured. The pumpkins themselves would normally go to Superstore to be sold on the shelve. Gienow said he is not sure what will happen now.

"They'll have to source from somewhere else if they can but from what I'm hearing everyone else is having the same problem," he said.

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