The list of crops affected by California's ongoing drought is growing. This time it's pumpkins.
While this year's crop is expected to be normal—a pumpkin from California weighing 2,058 pounds took first prize and set a new tournament record this week—the lack of water is forcing many pumpkin growers to face the possibility of plowing over their pumpkin patches sooner than later.
Next to Illinois, California is the second-largest pumpkin producer in the country.
"The impact is very severe on us and if we don't get rain this winter we won't be able to grow anything," said Wayne Martin, a farmer in Fresno, California, who grows pumpkins on his 60 acres of land.
"It's very bad here with the little water we have," he said.
Martin explained that because he's had to pump more water out of the ground than usual to produce this year's crop, the cost of doing business has gone up.
"The financial impact has really hurt," he said. "We've had to pay more for the water and that means consumers will pay more."
Martin said he expects he will have to sell his pumpkins for 15 percent more than last year. The national average is currently around 50 cents per pound, or $5 for a basketball-sized pumpkin.
Doug Perry runs Perry Farms in Fremont, California, and grows pumpkins on 91 acres. He's had to go to a drip irrigation system to help cultivate his crop. He's actually growing smaller pumpkins because of water cutbacks.
Perry said he's fortunate to have access to water that other farmers might not have in drier parts of the state. But like Martin, he worries about next year and beyond.
"This winter is key for a lot of us," Perry said.