FAMILIES across Hampshire preparing for Halloween have been told to expect “austerity” pumpkins this year.
Heavy rain and low temperatures have meant that many pumpkins are not growing to their usual size.
The terrible summer weather has wreaked havoc on the country’s farms and pumpkin growers have not been spared.
While there will not be a shortage of the fruits on sale, their smaller size may test people’s carving skills when they try to make the traditional Halloween lanterns.
Nathan Dellicott, farm manager at Little Abshot Farm in Titchfield, said: “In terms of volume the growth is the same but the pumpkins are about 30 per cent smaller than usual this year.
“There will still be a pumpkin for everyone but people will have to lower their expectations. There are a few big pumpkins but they will go very quickly.”
Normally, the seasonal fruit will grow to around 10.5in (27cm) but this year most are only growing to 8.25in (21cm).
Mr Dellicott said: “This does not sound like a lot but it does make a difference when you look at them.
“I would normally expect a good pumpkin to be the size of a football.
This year they will be slightly deflated.”
Mr Dellicott, however, is confident sales will not be hit.
Meanwhile a Hampshire vineyard will not be harvesting grapes following the wettest British summer in more than 100 years.
Nyetimber, a leading maker of English sparkling wine, said that its vineyards in Stockbridge and Ashley would not be used this year due a lack of quality grapes.
The announcement comes after figures were released showing the country has not had this much rain since 1910, with more than 14 in (360mm) falling over the summer alone.
Despite months of hard work, the winemakers decided not to use this year’s harvest as they felt it was not up to standard.
Cherie Spriggs, of Nyetimber, said: “We have collectively come to the decision that the grapes from 2012 cannot deliver the standards we have achieved in the past and will again in the future.”
The decision will add to worries that the UK’s poor weather will lead to a rise in food prices.
Farmers say that wheat production has dropped to levels not seen since the late 1980s and is compounded by dire farming conditions around the world.
Richard Dodd, of the British Retail Consortium, said: “There are certainly price pressures in the system which are coming from poor wheat harvests in this country but also in the other big wheat-producing countries.”