HORRORS! A POTENTIAL PAUCITY OF PUMPKINS
By Nancy Taylor
Times Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 1979
It’s a frightening rumor to hear this time of year, especially if you’re a
comic strip character named Linus and you’re waiting for the Great Pumpkin.
This year, Linus, there may be a pumpkin paucity—not enough pumpkins out in the
One local grower says wet weather has put a real damper on the pumpkin
population this year. A couple others say their crops are fine. But
two more who aren’t growing pumpkins have heard the whispers in the autumn
wind—there’s a shortage.
“This year, we’ve got about three tons of pumpkins,” grower Bill Burkhart of
Masonic Park Road said early this week. Counting an average pumpkin at
about 15 pounds, that would be 400 pumpkins.
Lest pumpkin lovers count their pies before they’re baked, though, a word of
caution; Burkhart had 25 tons of pumpkins last year. This year has been a
bust, as far as his pumpkin productivity goes.
“There was too much rain when the plants were blooming, and they didn’t
pollinate,” Burkhart said. “And it’s been so wet lately, it’s hard to get
into the fields.”
“We generally wholesale the pumpkins, but this year we had so few we’ll retail
them in the greenhouse.”
“We’ve got plenty of pumpkins,” Dean Abicht of Abicht’s Market in Newport
said. “We didn’t lose many at all—not over 10 percent from the
weather. In fact, we’ve got twice as many this year.”
“We’ve heard there’s a shortage,” said Mrs. Jerry Witten of the Witten Farm at
Coal Run. “But we didn’t hear it was because of the weather; we heard it
was because a lot of people just aren’t growing them. My husband didn’t
grow any this year.”
Mrs. Witten said her children had raised a couple of pumpkins for the county
fair contest. “We put them on display down at the market,” she said, “and
we’ve had all kinds of offers to buy them—even though they’ve got our kids’
names carved in them.”
At Lane’s Fruit Farm on Ohio 676, Hazel Lane said she didn’t think her husband,
Eugene, was aware of any shortage. “We have a nice supply,” she
said. “Ours turned out nice. Our only problem is the groundhogs
getting into them.”
Bill Stacy of Stacy Farms said he didn’t grow pumpkins this year. “It was
too wet in July to get them planted,” he said. “But I kinda suspected a
shortage, from talking to the other growers around here.”
The Keith Doak family on Newport Pike isn’t raising pumpkins, “but we heard
there was a shortage,” Mrs. Doak said.
What can local folks do, if there is a shortage? Many of them certainly
won’t want to depend on those plastic jack-o-lanterns do-jobbies. They
might find substitutes, but a cleverly carved eggplant or zucchini just doesn’t
have the same kind of appeal.
Maybe it’s time for America to sink their teeth into research for pumpkin
preservation. It may not sound attractive now, but it might be better to
become a pumpkin-independent nation before we’re faced with pumpkin rationing,
pumpkin imports—and those long lines of pumpkin-guzzlers that form at the
dinner table at holiday time.