Monday, September 9
Illinois produces more pumpkins than any other state. In fact, Illinois produced twice as many pumpkins in 2012 than 2nd ranked California.
There are two types of pumpkins: the Halloween pumpkin (known in the industry as ornamental) and the prime ingredient in your Thanksgiving pie (called processing pumpkins).
Illinois harvested a record 16,200 acres of pumpkins in 2012. Most were processing pumpkins, the best type for canning and cooking. More than 90% of the nation's canning pumpkins grow in Illinois.
Pumpkins take about 120 days to grow from planting to harvest.. The sprawling plants grow and cover fields with vines up to 30 feet long. The vines contain flowers that bees pollinate to become pumpkins.
Farmers use machines to harvest processing pumpkins. One farm machine moves the pumpkins into rows, while another elevates them onto trucks. Then the crop travels to the facility to be washed, chopped, processed and canned.