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What happens to all the pumpkins?

5:35 PM, Nov 5, 2013   |    comments
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Aaron Kaeb tills the pumpkins left in his Lowell fields.

LOWELL, Mich. (WZZM) -- If you carved a pumpkin this Halloween, you've likely tossed it in the trash by now. But what happens to all the extra pumpkins?

We found that farmers do a few things to make sure they don't go to waste.

At Heidi's Farm Stand in Lowell, it's a bumpy day in the pumpkin field for twin brothers Aaron and Ben Kaeb. The start of November marks the end of their pumpkins' life cycle.

"We have too many left, that means I should have sold one more load," said Aaron Kaeb. He says he had a great season; now he's left tilling the hundreds of pumpkins remaining.

Michigan ranks fifth in the country in pumpkin production. The MSU extension office says 2013 was a great year for the crop, but they estimate many pumpkins are still in West Michigan fields because the area had rain every Saturday in October. Families generally don't pick pumpkins in the rain.

Kaeb says breaking up a pumpkin exposes its seeds to air and critters and reduces to its ability to grow next year. He says farmers never want to grow the same crop in the same field year after year because it can create disease.

Other farmers give their pumpkins to local pig or cow farmers for feed; others let the deer chomp on them. Kaeb enjoys tilling, it gives him more time on the tractor.

"That's probably one of the neatest things about growing, is watching nature work from start to finish. The good Lord has given us an incredible gift," he said.

Don't worry if you still need sweet pumpkins or squash for your Thanksgiving pies. Heidi's Farm Stand sells those through Christmas, and Kaeb says there's never any left to go to waste.

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