Pumpkin harvest has begun in Chittenden County.
Laurie Bombard, one of the owners of Sam Mazza’s Farmer’s Market in Colchester, already has some pumpkins to buy.
“It feels like we have a good harvest,” Bombard said.
After:Looking for some maze time this fall? When the area’s corn mazes will be open.
Wagon rides to Mazza’s Pumpkin Patch begin September 24, and the Giant Pumpkin Weighing takes place September 17. The huge unearthly gourds come from all over New England.
“Some years there are up to 30 giant pumpkins,” Bombard said. “One year we had a 2,000 pound pumpkin.”
Just watching the farmers handle the giant pumpkins with farm machinery is entertaining, according to Bombard.
looking less than normal
In Williston, Mike Isham of Isham Family Farm is having a tough pumpkin year, forcing Isham to bring in 500 pumpkins from southern Vermont to supplement his own meager harvest.
“We haven’t crossed the fields to watch yet, but it’s less than normal,” Isham said.
Much less. In a normal year, Isham harvests 1,500 to 2,000 pumpkins. He plans to harvest 250 to 500 pumpkins this year, about a fifth of what he normally would. He ended up mowing and turning over four of his seven pumpkin patches.
“We had such poor germination and growth,” Isham said. “Also, it was dry at first. Climate change is affecting agriculture.”
Laura Johnson, pollinator support specialist for UVM Extension, said she thinks Isham is the exception rather than the rule in Chittenden County, but that’s how farming goes.
“Every farm is unique,” Johnson said. “It could very well be a bad year for some people and a normal year for others and a great year for others.”
Johnson agreed it had been a dry year, but she said it served to limit disease. Also, some farmers are able to irrigate and they are having a “good year”, she said.
The pumpkin harvest is still coming, but Johnson hasn’t seen a problem with pollinators over the summer – a factor mentioned by Isham regarding his poor harvest. Johnson observed a “good diversity” of long-horned bees, bumblebees, small carpenter bees, metallic green sweat bees, as well as a specialized bee called the squash bee, which feeds only on squash flowers. .
“From what I’ve seen, they were abundant this year,” Johnson said of the squash bees.
Pumpkins and other squash are totally dependent on bees for pollination and production, according to Johnson.
Pumpkins until Halloween
Paul Mazza, who owns fruit and vegetable stalls in Essex and Colchester, said he had pumpkins in his fields but they were ripening later than normal.
“There should be plenty, until Halloween,” Mazza said.
Mary Whitcomb said Whitcomb’s Land of Pumpkins and Corn Maze will open on September 17.
“We’re harvesting right now,” Whitcomb said. “We seem to have a good harvest.”
Whitcomb’s grows thousands of pumpkins on seven acres and displays its harvest in rows 200 feet long. Customers board tractor-drawn wagons to browse the rows and choose the pumpkins they want.
“We hope to have enough to last until Halloween,” Whitcomb said. “We missed a few weeks before (Halloween), but I guess we have more than last year, from what I saw.”
Isham Family Farm
Where: 3515 Oak Hill Road, Williston.
More information: ishamfamilyfarm.com or facebook.com/isham.farm.
Farm market, bakery and greenhouses by Sam Mazza
Where: 277 Lavigne Road, Colchester.
More information: sammazzafarms.com/u-pick or facebook.com/sammazzafarmmarket.
Paul Mazza’s fruit and vegetable stand
Where: 182 River Road, Essex Junction; 135 Poor Farm Road, Colchester.
More information: https://www.paulmazzas.com/
Whitcomb’s Land of Pumpkins and Corn Maze
Where: 347 Fay Lane, Williston.
More information: whitcombslandofpumpkins.com/faq-s or facebook.com/WhitcombsLandofPumpkinsandCornMaze.
Contact Dan D’Ambrosio at 660-1841 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanDambrosioVT. This coverage is only possible with the support of our readers.