Pumpkin harvest far better than forecast as Halloween season begins

One of the UK’s largest pumpkin growers has dismissed reports that this year’s harvest was seriously impacted by the summer drought and later torrential downpours. 

Oakley Farms, based near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, which supplies Tesco, says that not only are harvest numbers the same as last year but quality is also very good.    

And that will be great news for Halloween revellers as pumpkins start to roll into Tesco stores from this week. 

Tesco pumpkin buyer Emily Hampson said:

"The quality of the pumpkins that have started arriving at our stores this week are as good as ever and we have a wide variety of choices available. 

“Interest in Halloween continues to grow and last year we saw an all-time record demand for pumpkins. This year we anticipate at least equalling that and thanks to our close partnership with Oakley Farms we are on track to do just that. 

‘’Don’t forget Pumpkins can be used to cook delicious recipes too, and we recommend using our Culinary Pumpkin and the Autumnal Squash as they are sweet varieties.’’

Oakley Farms are one of Europe’s biggest suppliers of pumpkins, growing around five million each year. 

The farm works hand in hand with Tesco to ensure that there is as little waste as possible and donates any surplus pumpkins to food charities such as FareShare to create meals. 

Steve Whitworth, Operations Director at Oakley Farms, said: 

While we had the summer heatwave and subsequent downpour in early September, we’ve had no issues with our pumpkins and there is full availability of great quality this year.”

To cut waste, another clever idea is to use pumpkins to feed garden wildlife. Larger birds love the seeds and a carved pumpkin can be turned into a hanging bird feeder using sticks and twine.

Tesco’s pumpkins range is as follows: 

  • Carving – in standard, large and giant sizes  
  • Munchkin  
  • Sweet Culinary   
  • Novelty including devil (red) and ghost White) varieties  
  • Autumnal Squash  


Easy to make pumpkin recipes: 

Roasted pumpkin wedges with feta and thyme 


  • 1kg (2lb) pumpkin, cut into wedges 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • pinch chilli flakes 
  • 1 garlic bulb 
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked 
  • 150g (5oz) fresh feta, crumbled 

  • How to make them: 
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Arrange the pumpkin in a large, shallow baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and scatter over the chilli flakes. Break the garlic bulb into cloves and nestle them, unpeeled, around the pumpkin. Season well and scatter over the thyme leaves. 
  2. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until tender and lightly charred. Add the feta for the last 5 minutes of cooking.  

Pumpkin Punch Recipe  


  • 1 pumpkin 
  • 400ml coconut rum 
  • 200ml pomegranate juice 
  • 200ml orange juice 
  • 1 lime, juiced 
  • 400ml ginger ale 
  • ice, to serve 
  • 2 oranges, sliced, to serve 
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds, to serve 
    How to make it:
  1. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the lid off the pumpkin to create a wide opening. Scoop out the seeds with a large metal spoon to form a bowl, being careful to keep a thick layer of the pumpkin wall intact (see tip below for using the seeds).  
  2. To make the cocktail, mix together the coconut rum, pomegranate, orange and lime juices with the ginger ale in a large jug. 
  3. Fill the pumpkin bowl with ice and pour over the cocktail mix. Garnish with the orange slices and pomegranate seeds to serve. 

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