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No Halloween frights in store for pumpkin quality

Great news for witches, wizards, goblins and ghouls getting ready for Halloween – despite a difficult growing season nearly two million quality, orange pumpkins are ready for sale at Tesco.

It’s all down to the foresight of one of the country’s biggest pumpkin growers who harvested his crop early and moved all his stock inside industrial-sized storage greenhouses before rainy weather hit the UK.

Oakley Farms, based in Wisbech in Lincolnshire, who supply more than one and a half million of Tesco’s pumpkin crop, say that not only is quality good but they will have plenty to meet demand, which is expected to be up by 15 per cent compared with last year.

Tesco is the biggest seller of pumpkins in the UK, responsible for more than a third of all the orange vegetables bought in the run-up to Halloween.

Tesco pumpkin buyer Natasha Beagley said: “Demand for pumpkins has grown by 60 per cent in the last 6 years. During October, pumpkins always become one of the fastest selling of all vegetables but this year, because of reports of a bad season for some growers, we are seeing higher demand than normal and it’s happening earlier.”

Steve Whitworth, commercial director of Oakley Farms, said: “Our past experience has taught us how inclement the British summer can be and for that reason we have invested in industrial glasshouses so that, once harvested, we can keep our pumpkins in perfect condition until they get taken to store.

“We plant early and then harvest in late August to make sure all the pumpkins are under cover before the colder autumn weather comes.”

This year Tesco will sell three different sized pumpkins – standard which cost £1, large at £2 or 2 for £3, and giant for £3. There are also munchkin pumpkins, for £1, and red and white varieties which cost £2 each

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