Nightmare harvest for pumpkin growers after poor summer weather
This year's pumpkin harvest is becoming the stuff of nightmares.
With Halloween fast approaching, producers around Ireland have seen as much as half of their pumpkin yield lost as unfavourable conditions over summer thwarted growth.
Declan Canning has run a pick-your-own-pumpkin patch at Meath Pumpkin in Co Meath for the past five years, and said this year was particularly bad for his crop.
"The weather we have now is perfect, but the weather was bad at the beginning of the season," he said, adding that 40pc did not make it through to harvest time.
"I will have no pumpkins by next week," he said.
Kitty Scully, head grower at Airfield Estate in Dublin, grows 15 different varieties of pumpkins but called 2015 "a disastrous year". She said that pumpkins had been let down by a particularly unseasonal summer, which saw low temperatures and dry conditions prevail in May and June.
She added that their crop also struggled with windy weather on the exposed site, but that pumpkins in Airfield's indoor tunnels had prospered and were now "fabulous". But Ms Scully said that while traditional pumpkins had a disappointing year, lesser-known types of the squash were well worth seeking out.
"For some people, they have to have a Jack O'Lantern," she said. "But there are so many other varieties that are brilliant."
According to Met Éireann, almost all areas of the country experienced temperatures that were below average this summer.