New Jersey Touts A Bumper Crop Of Pumpkins [AUDIO]
If you're heading out for some pumpkin picking in New Jersey, you'll have a lot to choose from this year.
The crop is much better than it was last year, according to Assistant State Agriculture Secretary Al Murray.
"The crop this year is one hundred times better than last year. Last year, with the hurricane and tropical storm, the pumpkin crop suffered with all of the additional moisture."
"Pumpkins like dry conditions. They're very susceptible to moisture which can put a lot of disease pressures on them. When it's a dry year, the farmer can control how much water a pumpkin is going to get and that helps considerably," said Murray. "Pumpkins also have very deep root systems and can dig very deep into the soil to get moisture, even in the driest of conditions."
Pumpkins in the Midwest fared very well this year, despite the severe drought, which baked most of the nation's heartland. In fact, pumpkins have been the bright spot in an otherwise, dismal year for farmers there who have watched their crops wither and have had to sell off their cattle suffer because the pastures were too dry to graze.
So, how can you pick the perfect pumpkin?
"People who check watermelons by thumping them, that's what they should do with a pumpkin. Thump it. If it sounds nice and solid and the skin is in tact, that's the one you want. Because pumpkins are so susceptible to moisture, make sure you place it in a cool, dry place when you're planning to display it," sad Murray.
"When you go out and pick your pumpkins this year, take advantage of some apple picking, get lost in a corn maze and enjoy all New Jersey has to offer," said Murray.