The fall is a busy time for pumpkin farmers. Ask Kevin Miles, who owns and operates Miles Produce Ltd. out of Waterford, Ontario. With thanksgiving and Halloween both taking place weeks apart in Canada, as well as scenic autumn weddings and other occasions, pumpkins are in high demand throughout October. But the process of getting pumpkins up to a place like the Yukon starts long before that, when the first pumpkins are planted in May.

“There’s a lot of shipping logistics you have to think of,” Miles explained to What’s Up Yukon. “Your pumpkins in the Yukon are most likely coming from B.C., maybe Alberta, maybe even California.”

Mile’s farm is located in Norfolk County, which according to Norfolk Business, is Canada’s pumpkin capitol. Though the region is a massive producer of pumpkins, they generally do not ship pumpkins all over Canada, and with the Yukon being some 5000 km away, Yukoners likely won’t be seeing any pumpkins from the country’s pumpkin capitol. Miles’ pumpkins do ship all over eastern Canada, and have made it as far west as Saskatchewan, according to the farmer. Around two thirds of Miles’ supply end up going to the U.S.A.

The transportation of pumpkins is a fairly simple process, compared to the months of planning, preparation and dealing with issues that come with the actual planting and growing. Pumpkins, like most produce, are shipped on freight trucks—which is why shipping logistics are important to determine where pumpkins can make it in good condition in time for the fall rush. Keeping pumpkins fresh during travel is crucial, as when they start to rot, they rot quickly. The packing of the pumpkins is an important part of the transportation as well. Pumpkins are often packed for their drives in cardboard cartons, inside crates, with proper air circulation to prevent early ripening and dimmish the quality of the fruits.

field of pumpkins

Miles Produce Ltd.’s pumpkin farm in Waterford, Ontario.

 

As many Yukoners know, driving to Whitehorse from even communities in northern B.C. can still take upwards of a couple of days, so the importance of properly packing pumpkins to stay fresh when they’re headed up someplace like the Yukon can’t be understated. 

For Miles, this year wasn’t the easiest when it came to growing pumpkins because of the large amounts of water Ontario received. Still, he’s been in this business for decades, and has learned how to get around problems like this, something any farmer will have to do eventually. By the time pumpkins are on the shelves in stores, ready to be bought and carved into jack-o-lanterns, Miles has done months worth of work to get them there. 

“It’s a long process,” he said. “But once you’ve done it so many times, it’s like riding a bike.” 

The work may be long and arduous, but by the time the pumpkins are finally ready for Halloween, Miles finds the work rewarding and satisfying. 

“Pumpkin season is usually a fun time of year,” said Miles. “It’s always nice to see the pumpkins in the bins.”