‘We didn’t have a lot of negative from the drought’ - Local pumpkin farmers see good crop this year

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 5:38 PM CDT
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MANCHESTER AND NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (KCRG) - The drought we’ve seen this farm season has impacted farmers around Eastern Iowa, and as many are just getting out in the field for harvest, one crop has actually done well with little rainfall.

Unlike many traditional crops, pumpkin season starts harvesting around September or sometimes even late August to start getting ready for Halloween. And here in Eastern Iowa, some local pumpkin farmers said this season has been a good one.

”We didn’t have a lot of negative from the drought,” said Dean Sherman, owner of Sherman’s Pumpkin Farm and Corn Maze.

Dean and Jackie Sherman have decades of experience when it comes to getting pumpkins ready for the fall season.

”This is our 42nd year,” said Dean Sherman.

The two own Sherman’s Pumpkin Farm in Manchester and they know all too well the highs and lows of Iowa weather.

”The weather plays a huge role in our business because we need nice cool fall weather on weekends and especially if it’s rainy and cold, it’s a lot harder to have fun outside. But there’s not much you can do about it other than wait for a better day. We have had some years where we’ve had to cover them every night in October. Where you had early cold weather and snow,” said Dean Sherman.

”The hardest thing for us in the fall is of course the 80 or 90-degree weather,” said Jackie Sherman.

But this year, despite the drought, they said crop has been good.

”Pumpkins typically do better in dry weather than they do in wet weather. Wet weather makes the pumpkin... they’re more susceptible to powdery mildew and blights and diseases. And it’s easier to control the weed when it’s dry,” said Dean Sherman.

Dean Colony owns Colony Acres in North Liberty and has been in the business of pumpkins for 17 years.

”The pumpkins have really flourished this year. We’ve got lots of small pumpkins, big pumpkins, medium pumpkins... all different colors,” said Colony.

Unlike other crops like corn or soybeans, pumpkin harvest has been in swing for a few weeks already.

”We are fully on board right now. We’re going out about every day picking pumpkins to make them available for families,” said Colony.

But despite a good crop this year, like any other farmer, the Sherman’s say they’re at the mercy of the weather.

And Dean Sherman said if the weather is bad, there’s not much you can do other than wait for a better day.

”Farmers are always full of hope and we’re right in there with the rest of them,” said Dean Sherman.