Utah farmers short on pumpkins after freeze

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A freeze last week has left one of Utah’s biggest pumpkin suppliers short on pumpkins.

Beck Family Farms in Centerfield typically grows about 3,000 tons of pumpkins each year to distribute to stores throughout the state. But an estimated 500 tons of those pumpkins are unsellable after last week’s hard freeze.

The freeze, which is believed to have affected other Utah farms as well, came after a cold spring had already brought production down about 50% statewide, according to farmer David Beck. Temperatures in Salt Lake City last week dipped as low as 29 degrees, unusually cold for this time of year.

“We are wiped out,” Beck said.

The affected pumpkins may look normal but are soft to the touch — making them unusable.

“If you put it on your porch, instead of a pumpkin to throw away, you’re going to have a pile of stuff you’re going to have to remove with a scoop shovel. Then you’ll be mad at me,” Beck said with a laugh.

The farm has had to cancel some shipments, Beck said, and told associated stores that they likely won’t have anything to deliver after next week.

Beck and his farm likely aren’t alone. The farmer said he’s heard from some other suppliers in the state who have had similar problems.

The bad year won’t make or break the farm, but “it’s quite a concern,” Beck said, before joking, “I hope my banker’s not listening.”

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