That’s scary… the Halloween pumpkins that went super-size after Britain’s sodden summer
- Supermarkets are now selling freakishly large pumpkins in time for Halloween
- The wet weather in July and August was perfect for the squashes to grow
Britain’s frightful washout of a summer has been a monster success for many farmers – helping them to grow scarily big pumpkins just in time for Halloween.
Supermarkets are now selling freakishly large pumpkins after the sodden weather made them balloon in size.
The soggy July and August created perfect conditions for the water-guzzling squashes, while a warm September and early October helped them to ripen quickly.
Farmers are now scrambling to get some 40 million pumpkins to sellers before Halloween.
Ross McGowan, who grows 200,000 pumpkins a year at Hatter’s Farm, near Stansted in Essex, said the wet weather meant the average pumpkin was larger but there were slightly fewer of them.
The soggy July and August created perfect conditions for the water-guzzling squashes, while a warm September and early October helped them to ripen quickly
Ross McGowan, who grows 200,000 pumpkins a year at Hatter’s Farm, near Stansted in Essex, said the wet weather meant the average pumpkin was larger but there were slightly fewer of the
This is because the rain also deterred bees from pollinating crops, he said.
‘We have been doing this for eight or nine years and we definitely haven’t had a year when they’ve been bigger,’ he said.
‘Of the bigger varieties we grow, pumpkins that might be 15 kilograms in other years could be as much as 30 kilograms now.
‘People love them. A lot of the really big ones will be bought by people who carve them out and then might put their babies in them to take pictures to go on social media.’
He added that the harvest had started around a fortnight later than normal because of the wet weather. Packaging company DS Smith said it had seen a surge in demand this year for its Octabins – eight-sided cardboard barrels that transport pumpkins – due to the size of the squashes.
It said it has been flooded with orders and is supplying around 25 per cent more of the bins than this time last year.
Joe Coote, pumpkin packaging account manager at DS Smith, said: ‘We’re in a race against the clock to get our Octabins to growers and retailers who have only recently realised they need extra storage for their giant pumpkins.’
Tesco has said all its pumpkins will be larger than normal, though it still expects the smaller carving sizes to be popular.
Each pumpkin contains around 500 seeds and there are around 50 types of the gourd.
They can be green, white and red, as well as the traditional orange.
Carved pumpkins are known as Jack-o’-lanterns, linked to an Irish myth about a drunkard who bargains with Satan and is doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way.
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