- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2006

MONSON, Mass. (AP) — Leaves are beginning to change on the sugar maples that tower over the stone walls near Westview Farms, but there’s something missing from this New England autumn scene: the pumpkins.

Instead of countless pumpkins covering Westview’s pick-your-own pumpkin fields, weeds have taken over the land.

The $20,000 that farmer Dave Bradway spent planting pumpkins in mid-June may as well be rotting in the earth with the seeds ruined by too much rain.

“This time of year, you’re supposed to see nothing but orange. Solid orange,” Mr. Bradway said recently as he surveyed 53 acres of what he called a “total crop failure.”

Massachusetts farmers and agriculture specialists said that as much as half of the state’s pumpkin crop may have been washed away by heavy rains in May and June.

Last year, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported, Massachusetts pumpkin patches yielded about 9,300 pounds per acre.

This year? “I’ve heard from farmers saying they didn’t have one vine that produced a pumpkin,” said Gerald Tillman, a deputy director for the service, based in Concord, N.H.

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