The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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October 10, 2012

Pumpkin farmers have smashing crop despite drought

(Continued)

ST. LOUIS —

The next summer turned out to be among the wettest ever in Illinois, and pumpkin production plummeted in much of the state, although not around Morton. And last summer, the remnants of Hurricane Irene and other storms devastated the pumpkin crop in the Northeast.

"Mother Nature can mess with you, and there can be consequences," said Roz O'Hearn, a Nestle spokeswoman. "In the past couple of years, we've been at the opposite ends of the Mother Nature continuum."

This year, she said, "you'll be able to find pumpkins for your holidays."

Nestle produces more than 85 percent of the world's canned pumpkin each year under the Libby's label, and much of it comes from the area around Morton. The company hires farmers to grow Dickinson pumpkin, an oval-shaped, pale orange variety that's denser, meatier and less hollow than carving or ornamental pumpkins.

Farmers who irrigate seem to have produced bigger and more pumpkins than those who don't this year, O'Hearn said. But overall, she said, the harvest is "fine."

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