“People are getting out of it because it’s labor intensive,” DeBlouw said. “Anything that’s hard to do, people are getting out of it.”
And if other growers are getting out, DeBlouw wants in.
When seed company representatives told DeBlouw that some other growers had cut back on acreage of green peppers and sweet corn this spring in the wake of last year’s drought, DeBlouw increased his own acreage by 20% and 15%, respectively.
“That excites me,” he said. “Our window is so short. We see a situation where we can move our product very well.”
Another goal on DeBlouw’s to-do list is extending Pirrone’s season deep into the fall.
DeBlouw said the company expects to ship about 150 loads — up from 100 last year — of green, red and blue heirloom pumpkins. The company also offers miniature pumpkins and gourds. This year it added knucklehead pumpkins and lunch lady gourds to the mix.
“We keep finding more items people are excited about,” he said.
“It’s pretty cool stuff. We do an entire program. We do a lot of hard squash as well. It goes really well with pumpkins. Having more items makes it easier to get to market.”