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Promising Outlook For Illinois Pumpkin Crop

Pumpkin Patches
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MORTON, Ill. (CBS) — The Illinois pumpkin crop looks promising this year, despite a summer of little rain in the central and southern parts of the state.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, Illinois is responsible for many of the pumpkins in your pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin beer, pumpkin parfaits, and pumpkin everything else.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports


Roz O’Hearn, spokeswoman for Nestle, says a pumpkin deficit started in 2009, when record rainfall in Illinois prevented farmers from harvesting much of the crop. The equipment kept sinking.

Nestle is the parent company of downstate Morton-based Libby’s Pumpkin, a distributor in the heart of the most fertile pumpkin patches in the country.

O’Hearn says the popular obsession with pumpkins is relatively new.

“We probably noticed the change maybe five years ago, maybe a little longer, when pumpkin was identified as superfood. Yogurt and blueberries and salmon are superfoods, and so has pumpkin,” she said.

O’Hearn hopes this year’s crop will help the company get a head start on 2012.

“We hope this year is a good enough harvest that we carry through 2011 and have some to start 2012 so we don’t have disappointment there in the early part of the year,” she said.

O’Hearn wouldn’t predict how the rest of the pumpkin harvest will fare; she promised producers she wouldn’t jinx it by making predictions. She says it should be okay, as long as there aren’t 2009-style rains in the forecast.