Halloween horror! Recent heat has made pumpkins ripen early, discolor

A Halloween horror! Georgia farmers say pumpkins are now in season, but the recent heat in the south has caused some pumpkins to ripen early and discolor.

Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Eboni Deon is at Jaemore Farms, where she's talking to the owners about the impact recent record temperatures have had on this year's pumpkin crop.

"We've got a lot of good pumpkins this year, but we are seeing more scalding and blistering than in years past," owner Drew Echols said. "(The heat) made them ripen up sooner. We had to start picking them a little quicker than we would have liked.

Metro Atlanta has seen temperatures over 90 degrees on over 75 days in 2019.

Echols said they are also seeing a good bit of blistering on their pumpkins, which makes them unmarketable.


"It's kind of like a sun scald. It's a discoloration of the skin," Echols said.

Usually, pumpkins are picked at Jaemore around the 15th of September. This year, the farm started harvesting a couple of weeks early during the last week in August.

Deon checked the farm's weather station observations for the last 30 days and found that like much of northern Georgia, Jaemore's temperatures rose into the upper 80s and low-to-mid 90s most of those days.

"The ideal pumpkin growing temperatures would be like highs in the mid-to-low 80s and lows in the mid-to-upper 60s," Echols said.

Echols said the farm also hasn't been getting as much rain. But on the flip-side, dry weather can improve the pumpkin crop.

"In drier weather, we have the color that's just amazing," Echols said. "The Jack-o-lanterns have a beautiful color a lot of times that we don't see in a wet year."

Echols said there are over 30 varieties of pumpkins at Jaemore.

"We got blue pumpkins, we got red and pinks and all different colors like that, and they really are kind of showing out right now" Echols said.

Despite the heat, there are still perfect pumpkins to be found at Jaemore Farms.

Zealynd Rivera and his mom Victoria were happy to find their perfect pumpkin.

"I'm okay with the different shades, like if it's a darker orange. " Rivera said. "I think all the colors are fine."