NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee may be the best place in the country to find a good pumpkin this year.
Severe weather in other parts of the country has put a premium on pumpkins on Tennessee farms, marketers say.
Officials say drought and hurricanes took their toll on pumpkins elsewhere. But Tropical Storm Lee came just in time to give the state a great crop.
"The same goes for ornamental gourds," said Stanley Trout, director of sales for Grow Farms, a major produce company that markets Tennessee produce throughout the eastern U.S. "So basically, the best place to look for pumpkins and fall décor this year is going to be out on a farm in Tennessee."
The supply of pumpkins in Tennessee may be sold out by Oct. 15, so marketers urge consumers to buy theirs now.
Prices are expected to hold steady in the state despite the short supply elsewhere.
"Most pumpkin crops are contracted out for a set price at the beginning of the season," Trout said in a news release from the state Department of Agriculture. "Retail stores could try to raise prices because supplies are low, but there's only so much the public is going to pay for a pumpkin. The problem won't be the price; the problem will be that they're not there at all."
Northeastern states like New York and Pennsylvania were hard hit by rain. The reach of Hurricane Irene wiped out many types of produce from Delaware to Maine.
In Georgia, the problem was drought. There have been slim crops for all but those willing and able to irrigate their fields.
A list of Tennessee's pick-your-own farms and pumpkin patches is available at www.picktnproducts.org .
"You usually think orange when you think about pumpkins," Trout said. "But this year they're pure gold."