All over the country, people will be using Illinois pumpkins this fall -- Illinois has become the nation's No. 1 pumpkin-producing state.
"More than likely, if you are carving a pumpkin this Halloween or making grandma's famous pumpkin pie, your pumpkin came from right here in Illinois," Agriculture Director Tom Jennings boasted in a news release.
Weather has been the downfall of the pumpkin crop produced in many other states and at some farms in Illinois this year. But not at Belleville-based Eckert Orchards Inc.
President Chris Eckert said rain throughout the summer improved plant growth and strength of his crop.
"There has been no disease pressure," he said. "Our pumpkin crop is big in volume, and the pumpkins themselves are bigger."
Bigger pumpkins make for bigger jack-o-lanterns.
Tom Range, owner and operator of Braeutigam Orchards, said the "cool nights and cool days help the pumpkin's quality stay pretty good."
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