Did the summer’s pummeling rains hurt the region’s pumpkin crop?

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 4:39 PM EDT
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PLAINFIELD, N.H. (WCAX) - The soggy summer impacted the season for many growers across our region, most notably, preventing farmers from getting their hay off the fields. So how did the pumpkin crop fare?

This year’s soggy summer is officially coming to an end, but it seems for the most part, the pumpkins did OK.

“I think we have had enough rain for the year, really,” said Nancy Franklin of Riverview Farm.

On a dreary Monday, the relentless rain continued at the Riverview Farm in Plainfield, New Hampshire, a mid-September soaking for the pumpkins that remain on the vines in the farm’s pick-your-own patch.

“Somehow they ripened sooner than usual but they look good,” Franklin said.

There are plenty of big round pumpkins to be purchased here. But, in a field down the road, specialty varieties, gourds and winter squash did not fare as well.

“That field has heavier soil so the rain just wasn’t soaking through like it does down here. So they got really soggy and then we had deer and woodchucks, came in and feasted,” Franklin said.

Aanan Merritt, the manager of the Crossroads Farmstand in Norwich, explains the science behind ideal pumpkin growing conditions.

“Those like to be cured in the field, they like to be nice and dry, no moisture so that the stems can harden up so that they don’t rot immediately. So that is what we are seeing a lot of this year,” Merritt said.

But, there is also no shortage here. Not to mention sweet corn and other crops that don’t seem to mind those all-too-familiar raindrops.

“Beautiful tomatoes, greens, summer squash. A lot of the summer crops are holding on which is really great. That is a positive in terms of all the negative that we have had this year,” Merritt said.

Back at Riverview, boxes are filled with pumpkins, while others used to store apples remain empty.

“Ups and downs,” Franklin said. “Would have been nice to have the apples, then everything else would have been fine.”

The farm is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. However, in order to enjoy that pick-your-own experience, there needs to be a couple of dry days thrown into the mix.