New Mexico farmers face multiple hurdles getting pumpkins out in time for Halloween


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – From fungus to extreme drought and even supply chain issues, pumpkin growers and sellers across the U.S are facing some big hurdles to get pumpkins out before Halloween.

That includes here in New Mexico, but local farmers are facing some different issues. “Right now there’s a shortage of pumpkins, a perceived shortage of pumpkins,” said Max Wade, Owner of Galloping Goat Pumpkin Patch.

As pumpkin farmers in Texas and further east deal with fungus, New Mexico farmers are facing something else. “There’s a major labor shortage,” stated Wade.

Although he owns a pumpkin patch, Wade doesn’t grow his own pumpkins. “Over the years we’ve kind of developed our pumpkin patch to really cater to local folks but young families in particular,” he says.

His pumpkin patch focuses on making picking a pumpkin fun for kids without the hassle of having his own farm. “I wish we had a big beautiful farm that we could set everything up. We could grow the pumpkins, have people out but it’s just not that way,” said Wade.

Instead, for the past 15 years, he’s brought in a majority of his pumpkins from a farmer in Estancia Valley. “We try to support local farmers, bring in all of our pumpkins from New Mexico,” Wade stated.

This year, Wade had to dig deep in his pockets. “It costs a lot more,” he said as he had to buy this year’s pick of the patch from out of state.

“It happened to work out that there was a farm in Colorado that had pumpkins harvested and we had a truck that was going that direction,” said Wade.

His usual supplier says there’s just not enough hands to harvest the pumpkins in time. So why doesn’t his supplier turn it into a pick-it yourself experience like at Galloping Goat? Wade says it’s not that simple.

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“There’s insurance and liability. There’s so many things involved to be able to allow public to come onto your farm and those farmers are set up for massive production,” said Wade.

Thankfully, even the pumpkins not picked won’t go to waste. “There’s always pumpkins left in the field and they’ll generally bring in cattle or goats or any type of livestock to go ahead and eat those pumpkins,” he said.

Used as feed or not, it still doesn’t add up to the revenue they could have received by selling the pumpkins to you. Another big issue local farmers say they’re dealing with is a water shortage.

KRQE News 13 spoke with Wagner Farms in Corrales. They say they’re seeing fewer pumpkins because of the drought.

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