Europe’s largest producer of pumpkins ‘relaxed’ over Spalding harvest

Europe’s largest producer of pumpkins is confident that he won’t be left sweating over the readiness of this year’s Spalding crop.

David Bowman says a combination of the 2014 weather and years of experience tells him not to lose any sleep over the imminent harvest.
In some wet years recently his firm has been a little concerned that its crop would ripen in time, but that’s not a worry with this summer of long spells of dry, warm weather.

“I’m 66 now and have been doing it long enough to know that it’ll be fine,” said the owner of Rangell Gate firm David Bowman Pumpkins Ltd, which is responsible for an annual turnout of two million of the fruit.
He added: “It’s been warm – we could do without this cooler period though.
“We’ve been feeding them again today. There’s a bit of colour in them but they’re still basically green at the moment.
“I can sit here in the middle of August and say it’s going to be ok and then you can sit here in the middle of September with a very different picture, but I’ve got to the stage where I don’t worry any more!
“Until you start harvesting, you don’t really know but I’m not expecting any problems.”

The harvest gets under way in a couple of weeks’ time, on September 1. The firm will take on 150 agency staff during its peak period. Many of them come from Poland just for the nine-week harvest.
David said: “They’ll be readying themselves to come across soon. It’s a big operation when we hit the peak period.”

One of the first big orders is the 4,000 pumpkins which are distributed to primary schools in South Holland via the district council.
Some pupils carve them into shapes; others use the fruit to make recipes.
Mr Bowman said: “I’m very pleased to be able to work with schools again to celebrate the pumpkin harvest and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come with this year.”

Some of the carvings make it to Spalding Pumpkin Parade, an event to celebrate the local harvest of the crop laid on by the district council with support from Spalding Lions and Rotary Club of Spalding and Welland. This year’s parade takes place on Friday, October 3.
Led by the pumpkin coach with the winner of the fancy dress competition on board, the parade will wind its way around town centre streets before finishing in New Road.
The climax of the night is a fireworks display from the top of the South Holland Centre.
There will be a charity market all day, plus street entertainment, activities and competitions.
And with pumpkins taking centre stage, there will be ideas, recipes and cooking demonstrations on how to get the best out of the tasty treat when visitors get home.

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