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Dry summer has been good news for Montana pumpkin farmers

Posted at 1:33 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 15:33:19-04

MISSOULA - It’s pumpkin harvesting time for John Turner and his crew at Turner Farms in Missoula where they’ve been working hard to get them off the ground and out for sale.

Missoula has been exceptionally dry this summer, receiving about a third of the normal amount of precipitation since July 1, but Turner says for his pumpkins that’s a good thing.

“When it’s dry, it’s actually a little bit better because when you get too much rain then your crops are going to rot on the stems, pumpkins particularly. As it’s been drier it works out much better,” he said.

That’s not the only weather factor that’s led to a very good crop for Turner. He says he’s had to cover his pumpkins a few times in recent weeks because of the threat of frost, but so far it hasn’t gotten too cold.

“The biggest factor though, the frost. We haven’t had that heavy frost yet, so our season this year is extending a lot longer," Turner said.

In most years, Turner Farms would be getting ready for their annual pumpkin harvest, a two-day event which would bring in up to 1,500 people.

Turner has decided he’s not comfortable bringing in that many people, so they’re offering another option. One that Turner says will be family friendly and pandemic friendly,

“Prior to COVID, we’d harvest everything, it’d be on the ground. Well now we’re just leaving them out in the pumpkin fields. We’re going to let people go out there, there’s a lot more distance, we’ve opened up our entire five acres," Turner said.

Even though there is no festival this year, Turner believes you can still have a great time heading to the farm and picking out a pumpkin of your own.

The farm will be open every day from noon to 5 p.m. starting on Oct. 2 - with the exception of Thursdays - until all the pumpkins are gone.

Turner Farms is located at 606 Stallion Lane in the Orchard Homes area of Missoula. Click here for more information.