Pumpkin picking in NJ? Expect great, but not great big selections for 2015
This year's New Jersey pumpkin crop will feature great quality, but the fruit will be of average size.
Assistant New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Al Murray says Charlie Brown likely will not be seeing the Great Oumpkin in New Jersey this fall. He says sizes will be average. But there is good news about the crop,
"When you have a real dry summer, because there (are) no pressures, the quality is outstanding," Murray said.
The pumpkin crop was impacted a little bit from the dry weather that we had in September and August, the prime time for pumpkins to really size up. According to Murray, "the rule of thumb is, if you want big pumpkins, you need big water."
South Jersey agricultural extension agent Michelle Infante-Casella said dry weather also kept disease in check for pumpkins. She said some Jersey pumpkin growers actually brought them out of the fields and put them in storage, so that when it did rain, they did not succumb to fungal diseases.
"As a result, the 2015 crop probably looks a little bit better than the 2014 crop," she said.
Casella also has some buying tips for picking your pumpkin: Look for a deep orange color and of course, a hardened skin,
You want to look for one with a large, thick green stem. That means that it is pretty fresh," she said.
Casella said fertility also plays a role.
If they were not fertilized enough in the field, a lot of time they will not turn deep orange," she said. That deeper orange color is going to show maturity as well. She also advises New Jersey consumers to support local farmers by buying local, that is, locally grown and harvested.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.