Demand for pumpkins unmet by Oklahoma growers

Most pumpkin patches can't grow enough, so they buy from pumpkin wholesalers, often from out-of-state. An Oklahoma Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department initiative in February connected local growers and buyers.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: October 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm •  Published: October 14, 2013
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ON Justin Lingo's farm, the pumpkins have grown from a small hobby to a patch bearing 10,000 this fall.

But don't call him to buy just one. Lingo, who operates GreenShade Trees in Yukon, is a wholesaler and sells his pumpkins by the truckload.

“I don't want to have one of my guys sitting on the corner selling pumpkins. I'd rather sell a semi-truck full,” said Lingo, whose main business is growing trees.

But even 10,000 pumpkins weren't enough to supply local pumpkin patches, and he brought in double that amount from out-of-state to fill orders, like the 4,500 pumpkins at this year's Pumpkinville at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

The imbalance in supply and demand is the main reason the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department hosted a group of farmers and buyers to talk pumpkins back in February, said Jamie Cummings, agritourism program administrator for the department.

While many pumpkin patches grow their own, they also buy pumpkins because they can't grow all they need, she said.

Paula Parkhurst, for one, grows pumpkins on 55 acres, where she also operates Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch in Arcadia.

“I mainly grow the small pie pumpkins and gourds,” she said. Parkhurst contracts with other farmers in the western part of the state to supply the rest.

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by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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Top pumpkin production states

Illinois

California

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Michigan

Source: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.

To locate a pumpkin patch

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