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Pumpkin grower says there is ‘full availability’ despite summer heatwave

One of the UK’s largest growers of pumpkins has said there is “full availability” of the squash this year despite the summer heatwave.

There had been reports of a potential shortage of the gourds this Halloween due to the prolonged dry weather but a major supermarket supplier says harvest numbers are the same as last year.

Oakley Farms, based near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which supplies Tesco, grows around five million pumpkins each year.

Steve Whitworth, operations director at Oakley Farms, said: “While we had the summer heatwave and subsequent downpour in early September, we’ve had no issues with our pumpkins and there is full availability of great quality this year.”

Oakley Farms, based near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, has reported 'full availability' of pumpkins this year despite the summer heatwave. (Alan Bennett/ Tesco/ PA)
Oakley Farms, based near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said the summer heatwave has not affected the harvest (Alan Bennett/Tesco/PA)

Tesco pumpkin buyer Emily Hampson said: “The quality of the pumpkins that have started arriving at our stores this week are as good as ever and we have a wide variety of choices available.

“Interest in Halloween continues to grow and last year we saw an all-time record demand for pumpkins.

“This year we anticipate at least equalling that and thanks to our close partnership with Oakley Farms we are on track to do just that.”

The farm works with Tesco to ensure there is as little waste as possible and donates any surplus pumpkins to food charities such as FareShare to create meals.

Oakley Farms said the heatwave and subsequent September downpours had caused no issues. (Alan Bennett/ Tesco/ PA)
Oakley Farms said the heatwave and subsequent September downpours had caused no issues (Alan Bennett/Tesco/PA)

“Don’t forget pumpkins can be used to cook delicious recipes too, and we recommend using our Culinary Pumpkin and the Autumnal Squash as they are sweet varieties,” said Ms Hampson.

To cut waste people can also use pumpkins to feed garden wildlife, with larger birds loving the seeds.

Tesco’s range of pumpkins – carving in standard, large and giant sizes, Munchkin, Sweet Culinary, Novelty including devil (red) and ghost (white) varieties, and Autumnal Squash – will be in stores from this week.