Great pumpkin weather means robust crop, N.J. farmers say

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

With Halloween about a month away, New Jersey farmers say there should be plenty of pumpkins to mark the occasion.

A recent spate of relatively dry weather has created favorable growing conditions to produce a variety of pumpkins, said Ryke Suydam, president of the New Jersey Farm Bureau.

“People love the little ones. I call them the ‘Jack-Be-Littles,’ which fit in the palm of your hand, lots of those, good color,” he said. “Up to ‘Fat Jacks,’ which could be 40 or 50 pounds and even bigger than that, the prize winners, the ones that sometimes you need a fork lift to move them around. There are plenty of those as well.”

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At his farm in East Brunswick, Jim Giamarese agreed that the weather has been just right for pumpkins.

“Generally what happens is we get a lot of rain or too much rain or too much heat with humidity and rain, and it tends to rot them,” he said. “I’ve seen very little rot this year. It looks to be one of the better crops in maybe the past six, seven, eight years.”

Growers say pumpkin prices are about 2 cents a pound higher than last year because of increased production costs as farmers paid more for fertilizer and fuel.

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