'Pumpkin shortage' warning ahead of Halloween after crops left 'damaged by poor weather'

Reports suggest harvesting conditions have been difficult, while growers elsewhere claim the weather this year has been ideal for pumpkins

James Rush
Thursday 23 October 2014 08:20 BST
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Pumpkins at Oakley Farms in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which have been harvested for Sainsbury's in-store Halloween activity. Following a hot summer and an unusually mild September, the pumpkins were picked earlier than usual. This has resulted in a bumper
Pumpkins at Oakley Farms in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which have been harvested for Sainsbury's in-store Halloween activity. Following a hot summer and an unusually mild September, the pumpkins were picked earlier than usual. This has resulted in a bumper (Jeremy Durkin/PA)

A warm summer followed by heavy rains in October has damaged this year's pumpkin crop in the UK, it has been reported.

Pumpkins have been left rotting in fields after being ruined by the wet weather, according to The Guardian, with one farmer describing it as the "worst I've seen for a decade".

While the worst of the difficulties are said to have been in Lincolnshire, supermarkets and growers elsewhere in the country have disputed the claims, describing this year's weather as ideal for pumpkins.

Jim Meer, director of fruit and vegetable supplier Barfoots, told The Guardian that harvesting conditions this year had been "extremely difficult" and so it was a "juggling act" to make sure increased demand would be met.

Not all growers however have experienced difficult conditions, with some claiming the weather had been ideal for pumpkins.

Jonathan Smales, partner at Lydburn Pumpkin and Squash, in Wiltshire, told The Independent: "I would say it is pretty much the best growing season we have had really.

"You're always going to get farmers that have had crop failures, but it's been a good summer - the hotter the better, and that's what we have had.

"The worst pumpkin season was in 2012 - it didn't stop raining all summer."

Sainsbury's meanwhile told The Independent it had not experienced any difficulties and expected to sell almost 1.5million pumpkins over the Halloween period.

In 2012, farmers warned of a shortage of pumpkins in the run up to Halloween, because of the weather experienced that summer.

David Bowman, of David Bowman Pumpkins, near Spalding, Lincolnshire, told The Telegraph: "It's terrible, pumpkins don't like the wet and cold and that's what we've had all summer."

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