Thursday, October 21, 2004

Hoosiers R' Growin' Pumpkins

A Pumpkin Patch in Indiana Posted by Hello

I saw this interesting article today about Indiana growing more and more of the nations pumpkins. What is interesing is that they are not for pies but more and more people want them as decorations. I got to see my first pumpkin patch when I was up in Indiana in September, the picture above is just outside of Shipshewana, Ind. The story is below:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Indiana farmers are growing more pumpkins to meet a rising demand for jack-o-lanterns and other seasonal decor, rather than food production. Indiana is No. 7 in pumpkin production in the United States, with 4,242 acres of pumpkins planted in 2002, according to the Census of Agriculture, published in June. But only five of the state's 495 pumpkin farmers grow their crops for processing into pie filling and other food, said Greg Preston of the Indiana Agricultural Statistics Service. Most pumpkins are destined for carving or other seasonal display. The state's pumpkin patches expanded by 45 percent between 1997 and 2002, according to the Census of Agriculture. Ralph Kurtz shifted crops on his 1,300-acre farm a few miles east of Fort Wayne in the 1990s when wholesale buyers began ordering more pumpkins. Now he grows about 50,000 pumpkins each year. Kurtz said chain stores are now a major market for pumpkins. "Ten, 15 years ago, Meijer, Wal-Mart, Menards - none of those people had pumpkins. Now they do," he said. Retailers are catering to increasing numbers of people who are spending money on pumpkins and other seasonal decorations. Halloween ranks second only to Christmas in decoration spending, said Scott Krugman, spokesman for the National Retail Federation. "It's really shifted from one night out of the year to more of a seasonal holiday," said Krugman. A survey conducted for the federation estimated consumers will spend about $780 million on Halloween decorations this year, said Ellen Tolley, a spokeswoman for the group. ---

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