Bad year for pumpkins made worse by Dorian, N.S. farmer says
If you were hoping to pick up a pumpkin for your Thanksgiving pie or Halloween jack-o'-lantern, there's a pretty good chance it won't be one grown in Nova Scotia.
Farmers say it has been a terrible year for growing gourds and it was made worse by post-tropical storm Dorian.
Tourists are still stopping by, but pumpkins are in short supply at one of the country's best known pumpkin farms.
The Dills have been growing record-breaking gourds for decades now, but this year, nature hasn't cooperated. With 20 acres in the ground, Danny Dill has quite literally been counting his losses.
It started with a cold, wet spring, followed by a summertime drought.
Farmers kept their fingers crossed for a nice September, but then Dorian came along.
"A lot of them, they were just setting fruit when the storm hit, so the foliage and vines got damaged," said Diana MacDonald of the Dill Family Farm in Windsor, N.S.
The plants are struggling to rebound, but frost is now starting to show up in the forecast.
The impact goes far beyond a few thousand pies or jack-o'-lanterns for the front porch.
The 21st annual Pumpkin Regatta -- during which paddlers race across Lake Pesaquid in giant, hollowed-out gourds -- has been scaled back this year.
The regatta usually requires about 60 massive gourds, most of which come from the Dill Family Farm. This year, only five or six gourds will be used in the race.
Officials had planned to pull the plug on the Pumpkin Regatta entirely, but local business owners have come together to save the event, with an aim of raising money for the producers who have helped it grow over the years.
"We wanted to bring awareness to it, and help raise some money to give back to the farmers," said Windsor business owner Jeff Redden.
But even facing a bleak harvest, hope for next year is always abundant on the farm.
"Hopefully, we're at the bottom of the cycle, and now it starts swinging upwards again," said Dill.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko.