Independent vegetable breeding company Tozer Seeds is close to launching two new pumpkin varieties. The varieties have been bred in the UK by the British firm and could rival many of the popular American-bred varieties that are currently commercially grown in this country.
Charlotte Wheeler, customer services manager for the Surrey-based company said that Tozer Seeds now has “two very lovely looking lines” as part of its pumpkin breeding programme. Led by Dr Jamie Claxton, the breeding programme is focusing on developing pumpkin lines for carving purposes. Wheeler explained that the two new lines will therefore boast “market leading” weights and will be early maturing with a better “handle” on them. She added that Tozer Seeds hopes the new lines could rival some of the UK’s current bestsellers, such as Racer and Harvest Moon.
She added: “We are launching them [the new lines] in two year’s time. We are just multiplying them at the moment and we will be running some big trials [on them] next year.”
Meanwhile, as Halloween frenzy starts to stir, pumpkins growers across the UK have confirmed that this year’s crop is looking “average” – which hopefully means that the industry will not experience the kind of difficulties it suffered last year when supermarkets struggled to stock enough good quality pumpkins for Halloween. This happened because an early harvest, followed by a relatively damp October, caused many pumpkins to rot either in the field, in storage, or in the retail aisles.
Steve Whitworth, sales manager at pumpkin supplier Oakley Farms in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said: “At the moment our [pumpkin] crop looks ok. It’s not a bumper yield as it was very dry when the crop was planted so we have not seen excessive yields. It’s an average year. It’s about where we want it to be, I think.”