Demand for pumpkins is growing at such a pace that a West Norfolk farmer is planting more year on year to keep customers happy.
And because of their popularity, he is expecting them to be snapped up well in advance of Halloween at the end of the month.
Stuart Melton grows pumpkins at sites in Castle Rising, close to Knights Hill Farm Shop managed by his daughter, Lucy, as well as Narborough, West Acre and Emneth.
He said: “Pumpkins are becoming increasingly popular and I expect that we will be very busy selling in the last two weeks of October – there could even be a shortage.
“Halloween has become a bigger event than ever before in the UK. This year I have planted ten per cent more pumpkins and squash than I did last year.”
He said that the demand for butternut squash has also seen a steady growth year on year.
His produce is distributed to well-known supermarkets across the UK.
He added: “This year the pumpkins have made a good size and it’s a nice crop. There was a wet August and I was a bit concerned, but the last two weeks of September have been sunny, the foliage has died back and the sun has got to them, turning them into a good orange.”
The colourful spectacle across the fields has attracted dozens of photographers every day, he said.
“There is a constant stream of people taking photos as it is such a remarkable sight,” he said.
The harvest takes place in the first ten days or so of October and the produce then gets put into storage ready for the shop shelves.
The last two weeks of October sees sales reach their height.
At the farm shop at Knights Hill, Lucy said that some of the first pumpkins were on sale from the end of September.
She said: “People like to have them early and after the first week of October we see a lot more customers come in to buy them up.
“Traditionally people like to decorate them for Halloween but in recent years more people are cooking them. There are so many TV cookery programmes, that I think they encourage people to have a go themselves.”