Whether you are carving a jack-o-lantern grin, roasting the seeds or sipping it in your latte, pumpkin season has arrived for all of us to enjoy.
According to the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service and initial reports, farmers in Illinois and California, the two largest pumpkin-producing states, are harvesting healthy crops. While crop conditions throughout the country have been relatively stable, early drought issues followed by excessive rain and disease have reduced the current crop size slightly.
Historically, pumpkin yields have seen a great deal of variability year-over-year due to weather conditions; however, on average, Illinois, California and Texas produce about 30,000 pounds per acre. About 80 percent of Illinois’ high-yielding pumpkin crop is designated for processing use, such as pie filling, as opposed to California’s pumpkin crop, of which 99 percent is designated for fresh use. Total pumpkin production for 2017 topped out at 1.5 billion pounds. In 2017, Illinois’ 6.4 million pounds of pumpkin accounted for 41 percent of the total U.S. pumpkin crop.
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