TYNGSBORO (CBS) — Mark Parlee oversees over 12 acres of pumpkin crop on Parlee Farms in the Tyngsboro/Lowell area.
“They set the early flowers this year, so we should have big pumpkins this year!” he told WBZ-TV.
The pumpkin harvest is expected to be great this year, despite some early season difficulties.
“It was a challenge this spring because it was so wet and cold,” Parlee said.
One of Parlee’s fields grew winter rye, which looks similar to wheat, in the spring. He said farm workers had to harvest and bail up the rye before they could plant the pumpkins. They had just four dry days in early June to do so, causing the pumpkins to be planted a couple days late.
Despite the late start, the combination of record heat and warm nights during the summer allowed the pumpkins to grow quickly and bloom early.
“July helped us catch up” Parlee said. “These pumpkins. You’d come out and the plants were small. And after that, those warm nights, and suddenly BOOM! The field was totally green with vines. They had just grown right through the night.”
The farm’s apple crop will also be plentiful this year, despite a delayed bloom in the spring. Parlee said the bloom often determines when the season is. So when blooms begin, they start counting weeks to set their harvest date.
The apple orchard on Parlee Farms spreads over 19 acres, with more than 20 different varieties of apples, but more than half of them are Honeycrisp.
“Because of all the rain, the size is good. The cold nights we’ve been getting the color is good,” Parlee said. “The flavor is outstanding.”
This year’s crop is one of the best they’ve had in the last decade, he said.
“We’re getting the hay trailers ready. We’re getting the parking lots ready,” Parlee said. “We should be in good shape for the season.“
For more information about picking apples at Parlee Farms, visit their website.