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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2007
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Hard year for Alabama-grown pumpkins

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Drought, heat and worms have hurt Alabama’s pumpkin crop this year.

“There’s a lot less local-grown pumpkins this year,” said Olen Bice, who sells pumpkins at the Jefferson County Truck Growers Association market. “The local pumpkins are a little smaller because they didn’t get no rain.”

Clarence Dixon, who has 20 acres of pumpkins in Chilton County, believes his crop has been cut by about half this year. He said the drought and heat hurt the crop, then the worms came and did major damage.

Much of the state has been in a prolonged drought, with rainfall in many areas more than 20 inches below normal.

Doug Chapman, a regional extension agent for commercial horticulture in northwest Alabama, said that pumpkin growers had a 60 percent or more reduction in their crops.

But he said states in the upper Midwest provide many of the pumpkins sold in Alabama, even during years of normal rainfall.

He said pumpkins are considered primarily a luxury crop, for things like carving jack o’ lanterns or using as table decorations, rather than for pies or canning.

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Information from: The Birmingham News

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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