CORVALLIS, Ore. – A Corvallis farm says with a warmer and drier summer this year, it is seeing a larger pumpkin crop than usual.
“Pumpkin and sweet corn are two crops that like a lot of heat,” said Stahlbush Island Farms Co-Owner Karla Chambers. “And we’ve had good heat, we’ve had early heat, and we’ve had the dryness. So we can add the water when we want it and where we want it through irrigation.”
But the farm says the large crop is not just about the hot weather.
“At the very core and base of this business are healthy soils,” Chambers said. “And we’re adding a lot of green manure, a lot of organic matter; a lot of fertilizer that we’re producing from our bio-gas plant back to these soils.”
Stahlbush Island Farms says its sustainability practices are also helping with the large, healthy crop.
Chambers says the farm has so far seen a 20-30% increase in crop yields, and she anticipates it will be a good pumpkin season for the Willamette Valley.
“We’re just in the first fields, so time will tell whether this holds all season,” she said.
Chambers estimates the increase could bring in an additional $600-800 per acre.
“That revenue finds its way into the local economy through new tractors and buying more parts and more upkeep and more employees and it just filters its way through the local economy.”
Chambers says at Stahlbush Istland Farms, each pumpkin gets used to the fullest.
“The horn and the inside go to the bio-gas plant to create electricity, the seed gets dried for human consumption or pet food; the pumpkin goes into pies and soups and side dishes and beverages.”
In 2009, Stahlbush Island Farms says only five percent of pumpkin revenue was outside of the holiday quarter. But last year, that jumped to 30%. The company sells pumpkin ingredients nationwide, and even exports internationally. The company says consumers are demanding pumpkin flavored items year-round.
“People are seeing the benefits of pumpkin,” said Debbie Cozzetto, Vice President and Director of Marketing and Sales.
Cozzetto says pumpkin has no fat, sodium, or cholesterol.
“It’s a great ingredient as moisture,” Cozzetto said. “So you can naturally substitute the fats you would normally use – butter or oils – with pumpkin.”
Cozzetto also says that pumpkin is full of Vitamin A and fiber that is good for the digestive system – even for pets.
Stahlbush Island Farms sells pumpkin ingredients for consumer items, so pumpkin pickers aren’t able to go to the farm. However, those who are looking to go to a pumpkin patch can click here for information about other local farms.