By Clint Thompson
Pumpkin season has come and gone for one Georgia farmer. Yields exceeded expectations. Disease pressure was low. Demand was high.
Drew Echols couldn’t have asked for a better year this season.
“We did really well, couldn’t have asked for any better. We had phenomenal yields. We picked over 3,000 bins,” said Echols, owner of Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia, and president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. “(But) I always tell everybody it doesn’t matter what crop, it doesn’t matter how many you pick, it’s how many you sell. Our barns are about empty.
“We’re sitting exactly where we want to be going into Halloween. They’re not very popular next week I promise.”
According to University of Georgia Extension, pumpkins are mostly used as fall decorations. But since they are a member of the cucurbit family, they are prone to different diseases as well as whitefly damage. Fungal pathogens such as powdery mildew or downy mildew can be problematic. But the current dry weather benefitted the development of pumpkins this season. Disease pressure was minimal.
“If they were taken care of, they’ll sit on your porch for a long time, especially when they’ve been harvested under these types of conditions. Very little humidity, so all-around, it’s been pretty good,” Echols said.