This is the season for picking apples and pumpkins in the Chippewa Valley. We know it was a tough year for apples, but what about the pumpkins? You may have thought this year's drought would have meant bad news for area pumpkin patches, but here at Govin’s, they're pretty sure you're going to find the perfect pumpkin.
John Govin owns Govin's Meats and Berries just outside Menomonie, and says he was surprised to see the result of his pumpkin patch, especially after one of his worst years for strawberries.
"Our pumpkin patch seems to have come through the dry summer quite well. One thing about pumpkins is they don’t like their leaves to be wet, and their leaves certainly weren't wet very often this year," says Govin.
The dry and hot weather also has pushed the crop along. "Some of the pumpkins were ripe three weeks earlier than usual because of the warm summer,” says Govin.
Pumpkins, unlike apples, were fortunate enough to avoid the decimating frosts of April because Govin planted his pumpkin patch in late May and June. He also says they avoid fungus and insects issues that can be problems in wetter years.
However, these plump pumpkins still need water and that comes at a price. “We have a good pumpkin patch but it certainly adds a lot of cost to it. Diesel fuel is the source that we use to pump water with, and our diesel fuel cost for this summer…I would say my gallon usage is up by 50% this year and everybody knows what gas and diesel prices have done at the pump and it’s the same thing here on the farm," explains Govin.
And if you're worried this is going to mean higher prices when you come to the pumpkin patch, Govin says don’t be. He expects prices to be similar to last year.
"We’ll be opening up the corn maze. We've added a jumping pillow. A miniature golf course that's been installed and of course the pumpkin patch will be open for picking too." Govin's Meats and Berries opens this Saturday.