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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Pumpkins Could Command Golden Prices

ALBUQUERQUE -- New Mexicans may scowl when they buy their jack o'lanterns this year. Droughts in the East and Midwest have sliced pumpkin yields up to 50 percent, pushing prices higher, said George Dickerson, horticulturist with New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

However, pumpkin growers could have reason to crack a smile. "A pumpkin shortage in the East means better prices in the West, and that's good news for New Mexico growers," Dickerson said.

Most of New Mexico's pumpkins are grown in the Estancia Valley and sold in Albuquerque and the surrounding area because of shipping costs, Dickerson said.

Higher prices could change that, but don't count on it, he said. "Most New Mexico pumpkin growers aren't ready to head to the bank yet. The farther you ship a pumpkin, the more it costs."

Furthermore, Estancia Valley yields "probably won't be anything to brag about" this fall, Dickerson said. The curly top virus, which plagued chile and tomatoes, also affected some pumpkin fields in the southern part of the valley. The virus left infected plants yellow and stunted and greatly reduced fruit production.