Pumpkins: Background & Statistics
Pumpkin production is widely dispersed throughout the United States, with crop conditions varying by region. All U.S. States produce some pumpkins, but six States produce more than half of them by weight. According to the most recent USDA, Census of Agriculture, in 2017, about 40 percent of pumpkin acres were harvested in the top six pumpkin producing States, measured by pumpkin weight (2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture, USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service [NASS]). Every year, USDA surveys top pumpkin-producing States and publishes the data the following year. Texas is usually among the top six pumpkin producing States, but NASS withheld 2022 survey data for Texas to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
In 2022, Illinois maintained its leading position in pumpkin acreage, harvesting more than twice as many pumpkin acres as any of the other top States, at 17,600 acres. In the same year—California, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—each harvested between 4,200 and 6,300 acres.
Illinois harvests the largest share of pumpkin acreage among all States and an even larger share of processing acres. The most recent available data indicate that almost 80 percent of pumpkin acres in Illinois are devoted to varieties destined for pie filling or other processing uses, compared with about 3 percent in Pennsylvania, and even less in California and Virginia. This difference in the type of pumpkin most commonly grown in Illinois helps explain differences in yield and price between Illinois and other top States.
Yields vary substantially among States and over the years within a State, depending on pumpkin varieties and growing conditions. On average, Illinois grows about 37,500 pumpkin pounds per acre (predominantly pie varieties for processing into products like pumpkin puree), California grows about 27,500 pumpkin pounds per acre and Indiana grows about 20,000 pounds per acre. Michigan and Virginia each grow around 17,500 pumpkin pounds per acre, while Pennsylvania typically averages 12,000 pounds per acre. Yield can vary each year—from as much as 8,500 pumpkin pounds per acre in the case of Indiana from 2020 to 2021—to as little as 500 pounds per acre in the case of Virginia from 2020 to 2021.
In 2022, farmers in the top six pumpkin-producing States harvested more than 1 billion pounds of pumpkins combined. Leading in pumpkin acreage harvested and yield, Illinois produced 634 million pounds in 2022, more than the other 5 most productive States combined. Indiana produced 161 million and California 122 million pumpkin pounds—while Michigan and Pennsylvania each produced about 90 million pounds. Virginia production dropped 34 percent from 2021 to 55 million pumpkin pounds in 2022.
Annual U.S. per capita availability of fresh pumpkins trended up over the past 20 years averaging about 4 pounds over 2000 to 2002 and averaging about 6 pounds over 2020 to 2022. Reduced pumpkin availability in 2015 corresponded to a drop in domestic production, due in large part to the effects of poor weather on Illinois production. Pumpkin availability rebounded in 2016 and was 5.6 pounds per person in 2022.
All States see year-to-year changes in the price of pumpkins received by growers. In 2022, among the six top producing States, Pennsylvania received the highest price for its pumpkins, at about $280 per 1,000 pounds. California, Indiana, Michigan, and Virginia all received prices within $60 of each other, averaging about $200 per 1,000 pumpkin pounds each in 2022. Illinois growers sell their pumpkins mainly for processing and those types of pumpkins are priced lower than jack-o’-lantern pumpkins. This price means that Illinois producers consistently received the lowest price at $35 per 1,000 pounds of pumpkins in 2022.
Total pumpkin production value of the top six producing States increased 25 percent from $107 million in 2020 to $134 million in 2022. For most of the top six producing States, the value of production has increased from 2020 to 2022. The one exception is Virginia, which had production value down 20 percent from 2021 to $12 million in 2022. Indiana produced the most pumpkins by value in 2022 at $30 million and California was a close second at $29 million. Pennsylvania produced $25 million, Illinois produced $22 million, and Michigan produced $16 million.
Pumpkin supplies from most States are targeted toward the seasonal fresh market for ornamental uses and home processing. Pie varieties are predominantly sold in the processing market, although some are sold to consumers in retail outlets. Growers mainly produce jack-o'-lantern type pumpkins (Howden), but demand for specialty pumpkins—like White Howden, Fairytale, or Heirloom—continues to expand as consumers look for new and interesting varieties. In the last week of October, U.S. average wholesale pumpkin prices ranged from $183 per 36-inch bin for Howden pumpkins, to $237 per 24-inch bin for pie pumpkins, and up to $280 for specialty varieties like Heirloom pumpkins.
|Week, 2023||Pie||Howden||White Howden||Fairytale||Mixed Heirloom|
|September, 1st Week||200||175||-||225||230|
|September, 2nd Week||-||195||275||218||260|
|September, 3rd Week||275||195||275||219||263|
|September, 4th Week||258||184||275||219||263|
|October, 1st Week||258||189||275||216||263|
|October, 2nd Week||237||181||275||216||280|
|October, 3rd Week||237||182||275||216||280|
|October, 4th Week||237||183||275||219||280|
Note: Price is a weekly average of all quoted markets (excluding organic) for the listed type.
Source: Market News, Terminal Market Report. USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
(Wholesale and retail advertised pumpkin prices will be updated during the 2023 fall season as they become available)