BANKS COUNTY, Ga. - From extreme drought to extreme temperatures, 2017 has been tough on some local farms.
Meteorologist Katie Walls visited a pumpkin patch in northeast Georgia where despite tough planting conditions, the crop is bigger and better than last year.
Jaemor Farms ships thousands of pumpkins from New York to Miami and this year they’re not only shipping more pumpkins, they’re shipping bigger pumpkins.
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"Probably five, six, seven pounds larger. Stem’s a little bit better," said General Manager Drew Echols.
A significant improvement following last year's extreme drought when smaller pumpkins were the norm.
We took to the skies in News Drone 2 to show you acres of plump pumpkins, ready for picking in Hall County.
The season, however, didn’t start off on such a peachy note for Echols. Getting the seed in the ground was a challenge.
Heavy rain at the end of May and first of June meant muddy fields and a delay in planting part of the crop. Once the seeds were in the soil, there was a delicate balance between irrigation and rainfall.
"It’s feast or famine. We’re up here pumping a lot of water and irrigating and down there we’re not having to then two weeks later the script flips," he explained.
Thirty percent of Jaemor Farm’s acreage is in Banks County, twelve miles away but that short distance meant a big difference with summertime pop up storms.
"Overall, I think the quality is much better this year, the size of the pumpkins are better, and the yields have been better," Echols said.
Visitor Kiisa Wiegand of Lawrenceville agrees. She brought her sister from Wisconsin to peruse this year’s selection.
"I think they are bigger and better than two years ago, and they look really nice," she said.
But bigger pumpkins doesn't necessarily mean big business. Visitors to the farm are down by about five percent. The owner tells me he’s not seeing as many Florida residents and thinks Hurricane Irma is to blame.
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