Floyd Co. growers reporting quality pumpkin harvest despite hot season

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In his work jeans and long-sleeve button-down, Tim Assiter shows off his Pinks, Fairytales, Cinderellas, and One-Too-Many’s. They’re pumpkins, of course, as he calls himself the head wrangler at Assiter Punkin Ranch, in between Floydada and Ralls. The ranch has been shipping out truckloads of pumpkins since the start of September.

Assiter says the quality is up this year for the genuine Floydada pumpkin, but it hasn’t been easy. He says the hot and dry summer, followed by some heavy rains and another wave of heat proved challenging.

“We’ve had a difficult year. It’s been a little bit hot and therefore our blooms didn’t set quite as early. And so, the pumpkins are just now coming off. But, I think as you can see, we’ve got some big beautiful pumpkins this year,” he said.

While the bloom was late this year, Assiter says demand picked up quickly and retailers are ready to get pumpkins in their stores.

“The wholesale buyer is really pushing us to get these out quickly. They’re taking off early this year and they want us to get them out. We’re getting them out as fast as we possibly can,” he said.

While demand for pumpkins has been high since the pandemic began, Assiter says he’s a little concerned about inflation this year.

“The cost of raising the pumpkin has gone up tremendously, the boxes, the pallets, the trucking. All of that is going to have a little bit of impact, I think, on the consumer market,” Assiter said.

He says prices should only be a little higher on the wholesale level, and they’re trying to keep the price down for consumers. While every year brings its unique challenges, something keeps him coming back.

“I love to see those kids come out and watch their eyes pop when they get their pumpkin and go load it in their car,” he said.

There should be plenty of smiling kiddos out at Punkin’ Days in just a few weeks, on October 8. There will be a train ride, petting zoo, street vendors, food trucks, games, and more out at the ranch in Floydada.