JA 2019 pumpkin harvest

A variety of pumpkins sit for sale Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, at Harvest Market in Champaign.

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Q: How’s this year’s pumpkin crop looking?

A: Not bad, according to University of Illinois plant pathologist Mohammad Babadoost.

“This year is not the best one. Last year was much better than this one,” he said. “But it was not terribly bad.

“Overall, average.”

He said canning pumpkins, which are used for pumpkin pie, weren’t hurt by rain this spring and benefitted from the dry summer.

“There’s more flesh than water because late-season conditions have been dry,” he said. “The yield was good. More than that, the product was good.”

He said diseases from the Southeast United States didn’t make it to Illinois, which produces about 90 percent of the country’s canned pumpkin supply.

“We were able to manage the diseases,” Babadoost said.

The Illinois pumpkin industry is worth about $200 million.

“We are very big in pumpkin production,” he said. “We produce more than any other state.”