U.S. pumpkin loadings have gotten underway across North America with peak shipments coming later in September and October.
The 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture reported a total of 93,563 acres of pumpkins were harvested from 15,224 farms that year, up from 90,165 acres harvested from 15,840 farms in 2012.
Fresh market pumpkin acres harvested in 2017 totaled 75,341.
Bay Baby Produce Inc. of Mount Vernon, WA., began harvest of pumpkins and ornamental squash in mid-August. The initial pickings were for pie pumpkins for bulk shipments and painting, followed by wee be little pumpkins. Those can be sold as-is and also painted. This is followed by later varieties including the long-stem ornamental tiger stripe, casper and sparkler pumpkins.
Bay Baby Produce ships from its Washington state farm to all parts of the U.S. and also exports to Canada, Taiwan and Japan. The company reports retail buyers are buying pumpkins earlier in the season due to demand.
At Wallendal Farms of Grand Marsh, WI, the firm will start its pumpkin harvest this week.
Schmieding Produce Co. LLC, Springdale, Ark., is expecting normal volume in early September.
Schmieding sells mostly to retail but also ships to some distributors and some pumpkin patches.
The company offers ornamental heirloom varieties, including cinderella and fairy tale pumpkins in addition to the standard jack-o-lantern pumpkins.