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Easton Pumpkins Survive Soggy Weather

EASTON, Conn. – Heavy, constant rain has caused a pumpkin shortage in the Northeast, according to Patty Popp of Sport Hill Farm.

"It was not a great growing season for anyone. It's very frustrating," said Popp. "There was too much rain in too short a period of time." She said the ground has gotten saturated, causing plants to rot.

"We were pummeled with constant rain, 2 to 3 inches at a time. The ground was saturated because there was nowhere for the water to go," Popp said. "Pumpkins sit on the ground–they're going to rot and take more water up through the stem."

But despite soggy fields, pumpkins have survived at Samuel Staples Elementary School. Students planted the seeds, and now Popp at Sport Hill Farm hopes to sell the pumpkins to benefit the PTA and the Easton Learning Foundation.

Popp will ask the Board of Selectman on Thursday for permission to sell the pumpkins at the school. The pumpkins are for sale now at her farm, 596 Sport Hill Road, for 45 cents per pound. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will go to the PTA and ELF.

After Hurricane Irene, some of Popp's melons burst, and her tomatoes soaked up too much water and split.

"We would just start to recoup and it would rain again," said Popp.

But rain wasn't the only problem this season.

"The chipmunks were bad–I've never had an issue with them before," she said. "Every time we planted a seed in the greenhouse, they would go in and eat it. And, in March, we still had snow coverage."

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