October is always a month of high demand as Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays approach but unusual pumpkins have been the most popular gourds of late.
According to the USDA, consumers are driving the demand for pumpkins, especially speciality varieties, to new levels.
USDA economist Suzanne Thornsbury spoke with the USDA marketing service.
What we are seeing is a large number or an expanding number of specialty varieties or lots of different looks and colors for pumpkins this year. As people reach out decorate more and use pumpkins in new and different ways through the holidays we’ve really seen an expansion in the market in terms of different varieties.”
Thornsbury says the Cinderella variety is among the most popular. They are lower growing, round and sort of resemble the coach in the Cinderella fairytale. Miniature and heirloom varieties are also growing in demand. These include a variety called the Knucklehead. These are tall growing and have lots of lumps and bumps on their skin and have a variation in color too. There is also the Fairytale variety which is usually darker in color with a red or brownish hue. These are used for decorations and for eating. And then there are the Blue type varieties that have a blue or gray color. Those are also good for cooking.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, nearly 66,000 acres of pumpkins were harvested in the US in 2018, producing more than 1.5 billion pounds of usable pumpkins with more than 2 billion produced overall.
California the second top growing state after Illinois.