Pumpkins in good supply

It hasn’t been the best growing season for pumpkins locally, but don’t panic-the bright orange gourds are still in plentiful supply at area farm markets.

“We’ve sold a bunch of them, and our largest-a huge pumpkin-sold for $69 today,” said Rosemary Brammer who was operating the Witten Farm Market stand on Pike Street Sunday.

She said while some of the pumpkins are grown on the Witten farm, others are ordered from growers in Ohio’s Amish country.

Ed and Kerri Schaad of Marietta were helping their children Karli, 6, and Owen, 9, pick out a couple of large pumpkins at the Witten stand.

“They wanted something they could carve into Jack O’ Lanterns,” Ed said. “They get one each-it helps eliminate any sibling rivalry.”

A few miles north on Ohio 7 in Reno pumpkins were in good supply at Hensler’s Town and Country Market.

“We used to grow them on our farm, but now we order them from all Ohio growers-most within a couple hours of here,” said Candy Hensler, co-owner of the market with husband Travis.

She said pumpkin sales take off in late September through October.

“This weekend kind of kicks it off, and the sales continue until Halloween,” Candy said. “Travis and I have been selling pumpkins since we were about 17. This is our 20th season, and we always sell out.”

Most of the pumpkins go for fall decorations, she said, although some of the smaller gourds will go into pumpkin pies.

Out on Muskingum Drive Huck’s Farm Market had ordered plenty of pumpkins for the fall season.

“We just had a large shipment of pumpkins for carving or decoration,” said store associate Adam Lankford.

He said some of the pumpkin crop comes from the Huck farm, but the majority is ordered through a produce distributor out of Parkersburg, W.Va.

“We’ve been selling quite a few this weekend,” Lankford said.

But some local pumpkin growers, like Blake Campbell of Waterford, were a bit disappointed with this year’s crop.

“I have my own field on the farm and planted pumpkins three times this year,” he said. “The first came up but just kind of died while they were still little plants. The last two plantings brought nothing whatsoever.”

Campbell said his grandfather, Charlie Campbell, usually has a decent crop of pumpkins each year, but even his patch was sparce this year.

He blamed the no-to-low yield of pumpkins on a wet growing season.

“We put them in around March or April, but I lost the whole field due to too much rain,” Campbell said.

Melissa Duff of Marietta agreed.

“We tried to grow pumpkins from last year’s seeds,” she said. “The green vines grew great, but with all the rain it was too wet for the pumpkins to grow. And my dad swears he’s never seen pumpkins rot on the ground like they did this year.”