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California's pumpkin crop this fall looks better with lack of drought

Pumpkin harvest looking strong following years of California drought
Pumpkin harvest looking strong following years of California drought 02:10

ELK GROVE - For the past several years, the drought has impacted fall harvests across northern California. But this year, one popular fall crop is looking healthier and may be less expensive at your local pumpkin patch. 

Keema's Pumpkin Farm has been growing the popular fall crop for decades. They, like many others, have struggled with drought. 

"Planting right at the end of June is the best setup for us and if we have a fairly moderate summer where it doesn't get long stretches of 100-degree weather that's better for us," Mark Keema, owner of Keema's Pumpkin Farm said. 

But 2023, has delivered just what they needed. As this year they can sell 100 percent of their crop straight from the farm. Thanks to a lack of drought. 

"The more water we've got the more water we can draw. So a good year like we had this year with all of that snow and all of that water coming down the rovers it's helpful," Keema said. 

More water available and less heatwaves this summer have helped keep more crops on their farm. 

"We've had years where the demand has outstripped our supply easily and we buy pumpkins on the wholesale market. We can't do anything else if we are going to remain open," Keema said. 

But with pumpkins coming straight from them, prices can be a little less on their wallet and yours. 

"We have invested in a lot of time, a lot of labor, but if the crop fails... that's out the window and then we have the added expense of buying," Keema said, 

It's a labor of love that keeps their family planting year after year and open for your pick every fall. 

"It's been a really really good experience. It's a lot of fun and I've always said when it's not fun anymore we'll close it down," Keema said. "I'm confident we're going to have a good year."

Keema's Opening Season starts Friday, Sept. 29. For more information and how to find their farm visit their website

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