Oct 29, 2020
10 states produce most of the value of America’s pumpkins

Pumpkins are one of the most famous symbols of fall. Many consumers enjoy traveling to local farms to pick out their own pumpkins from a patch, carving Halloween jack-o’-lanterns, or making pumpkin desserts.

According to a USDA news release, production is widely dispersed throughout the United States, with all states producing some pumpkins. However, about 62% of pumpkin acres were cultivated in only 10 states. By acreage and by weight, Illinois is consistently the nation’s largest pumpkin producer.

Unlike all other states, most of Illinois’ pumpkins are used for pie filling and other processed foods. The lower price associated with pumpkins destined for further processing explains why Illinois was second in the value of pumpkin production at $17.1 million in 2019.

Pumpkins from the other states surveyed annually by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service were primarily intended for decorative (or carving) use.

California leads the nation in terms of value of production, at $22.8 million. Anecdotal reports from growers and agricultural extensions suggest strong pumpkin crops this year for Illinois and California.

Retail prices for pumpkins typically fluctuate week to week leading up to Halloween. At the end of the third week of October 2020, the average retail price for jack-o’-lantern style pumpkins was $3.63 per pumpkin, the same price compared to the same week in 2019.

The accompanying chart is drawn from Economic Research Service’s Trending Topics page, Pumpkins: Background & Statistics.




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