By Sharon Stevens
Belleville, IL (KSDK) - Corn and other crops took a beating this summer as a result of the drought, but at least one crop is booming: pumpkins!
Pumpkin growers say tell NewsChannel 5 the drought was actually good for hearty crops such as pumpkins and squash.
Eckert's is one of the largest pumpkin producers in the area, and officials there say this is one of the best years for pumpkins in many years.
Illinois is one of the largest pumpkin-producing states in the nation. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois produces 95 percent of the country's pumpkins.
Growers say the hot, dry weather pushed moisture deep into the ground, and pumpkin roots are able to travel down and reach the moisture that other crops can't get to, so pumpkins are thriving just in time for Halloween and the holidays.
At Braeutigam's near Freeburg, owners Tom and Pat Range say the rain came too late for the corn crops but it was just perfect for the pumpkins.
Tom Range told NewsChannel 5 how the good pumpkin crop affects the economy.
"For the local economy, I think it's pretty good because we have a large metropolitan community around here and a lot of people are celebrating the holidays, especially Halloween, with pumpkins. It's really become important for us to grow 'em and have them available for customers," he said.