Pumpkins: Southwest Virginia’s New Favorite Crop

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Photo courtesy of Martin Doege
Photo courtesy of Martin Doege

If you live in Southwest Virginia there’s one thing you’ve probably noticed in recent years — a lot of pumpkin patches are springing up everywhere!

Though the State of Illinois has long been considered the nation’s top pumpkin grower, Southwest Virginia is quickly becoming a major player in the market and the Commonwealth agriculture officials say the region is ideally suited to grow the orange crop.

Virginia has approximately 2,300 acres of wholesale pumpkins valued at more than $11 million, with the vast majority of these crops being grown west of Roanoke.

State leaders say the region is attractive to large scale growers because of its higher elevations and cooler temperatures.

Actual conditions may vary slightly by region, but many farmers are reporting that 2017 was a great growing season that produced a quality crop with excellent color and stems.

“Virginia is fortunate to have a favorable environment for growing pumpkins, which brings many opportunities for consumers across the state to enjoy fall festivals and pick-your-own pumpkin activities,” said Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Commissioner, Sandy Adams. “I encourage all Virginians to support the Commonwealth’s agricultural industry and their local economy by purchasing Virginia Grown pumpkins.”

To acknowledge the work of Virginia’s pumpkin growers and the value of pumpkins to the Commonwealth, Governor Terence R. McAuliffe has proclaimed October as Pumpkin Month.

Virginia is home to more than 200 commercial pumpkin growers.

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