As you are enjoying fall pumpkin treats, consider that every U.S. state produces pumpkins. However, the top five pumpkin producing states between 2016 and 2018 – Illinois, Texas, California, Indiana, and Pennsylvania – harvested about 40 percent of U.S. pumpkin acres, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. In 2018, Illinois harvested twice as many acres of pumpkins as any of the other top states.
In 2018, farmers in the top five pumpkin-producing States harvested just over 1 billion pounds of pumpkins. As with acreage, Illinois led other States with over 500 million pounds of pumpkins produced.
Pumpkins are a common theme for fall holidays like Sukkot, Halloween, and Thanksgiving when people like to decorate, cook, and carve pumpkins. If you have a slice of pumpkin pie with your Thanksgiving dinner, it’s likely the pumpkin came from Illinois, where over 75 percent of acres were for pie pumpkins in 2017.
Pumpkins are a type of squash, indigenous to North America, and have been cultivated since at least 7,500 BCE. Today, pumpkins come in two types: pie type and decorative type. Pie pumpkins are generally smaller, denser, and sweeter than decorative pumpkins. Decorative pumpkins come in many varieties, although the orange Howden used for carving is the most common.
On average each American used 6 and a half pounds of pumpkin each year between 2016 and 2018. During the second week of September this year, the average price per Howden pumpkin was more than $5 (more than $1 higher than last year), but by the second week of October, the average price had dropped to about $4 (very close to last year). Enjoy your pumpkins this fall and visit the ERS website for more pumpkin stats!