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Pumpkins Perk Up After Wet Spring

Things are coming up orange for pumpkin producers this year, despite a wet beginning for some.

Not a bad crop at all, a little light though, said Trevor Schriemer of Schriemer Family Farm near Otterburne. But considering we had so much hot and dry weather, not bad at all.

Schriemer began growing pumpkins four years ago, and planted 45 acres of the crop this year.

We were very fortunate here in the southeast, we weren t affected by all the flooding, he said. The water just seemed to skirt by us every time, and for that we are very thankful.

This will be an average to above-average year for pumpkins, said Larry McIntosh, president and CEO of Peak of the Market.

Pumpkins are oranging up nicely and the crop looks good, he said.

McIntosh said it s a similar story for squash production, which has also overcome a wet start.

I would say it s going to be an average squash crop as well this year, said McIntosh. The lead-up to Christmas is a big time for squash sales, so we re just starting the sales period now, but it looks promising.

Pumpkin and squash producers in other areas of the country have not been as fortunate.

On the East Coast of Canada and the U.S. they ve had lots of problems because of the hurricane that went through, said McIntosh. There are some shortages in the East, Quebec and Ontario.

However, no pumpkin or squash shortages are anticipated in Western Canada.

Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch near Oak Lake experienced a bumper pumpkin crop this season.

The crop was really good this year, it was a combination of weather and our using drip irrigation and mulch, said owner Judy Podobni . (Pumpkins) love the heat and the water, as long as it is well drained.

She said there were some concerns about excess moisture early in the season, and they moved part of their pumpkin patch to higher ground. But those worries faded as the weather turned hot and dry.

We also got some hail, which left some of the pumpkins with a few scabs on the one side, added Podobni. Pumpkins are a very resilient crop though.

That s key, she noted, because crop insurance is not avai lable to pumpkin producers.

Podobni grows 73 varieties of pumpkins, gourds and squash. Besides selling pumpkins, the farm also offers children s activities and family events.

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On the East Coast of Canada and the U.S.,they ve had lots of problems because of thehurricane that went through.

LARRY MCINTOSH

About the author

Reporter

Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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