|% of World Total|
|4||Russian Federation||1,189,539 m/t||4.3%|
Hollowed-out pumpkins, called jack-o-lanterns can be traced back to the people in Ireland and England who carved out beets, potatoes, and turnips to use as lanterns around this festive time. They were named for a miser named Jack who could not enter heaven and played jokes on the devil. The story starts with a mean and stingy man named Jack. He liked to play tricks on people, and even went so far as played games on the Devil. When they were having a drink, Jack tricked the Devil into turning into a sixpence to pay for the drink. But, Jack put the money inside his pocket, beside a cross. When he had the Devil trapped, he made the Devil promise to not take his soul for a year. The following year, Jack met the Devil while he was walking. Before agreeing to walk with him, Jack asked the Devil to climb a tree and get him an apple. He then imbibed a cross on the tree so that the Devil would once again be trapped. And then he made the Devil promise him that his soul would not ever be taken. When Jack died, he was denied entrance into either Heaven or Hell. He was doomed to wander around the Earth until Judgment Day. Because it was so dark, Jack asked the Devil to give him a tiny light to light his way. The Devil hesitantly put gave him a turnip with a little light inside it. Since then, he was known as Jack of the Lantern or Jack o' Lantern.
In 2018 The United States produced around 700,000 metric tonnes of pumpkins, which makes the USA the 7th largest producer of pumpkins in the world. Pumpkins are a member of the cucurbitaceae family, which also includes squash, cantaloupes, cucumbers, watermelons, and gourds. Although pumpkins originated in America, China produces the most pumpkins in the world at over 8 million metric tonnes. Fragments of stems, seeds, and fruits have been identified and recovered from cliff dweller ruins in the southwestern United States. Some pumpkin varieties may have originated in Mexico and Central America, while others probably developed in Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. Some of these pumpkin and squash varieties probably have been cultivated as long as maize (corn), since around 3500 B.C. Pumpkins are 90 percent water and range in size from less than a pound to over 1,000 pounds with the largest pumpkin ever grown weighing 1,140 pounds.
Pumpkins are seen as a profitable opportunity by many farmers. Because of this, pumpkin acreage has expanded greatly in recent years and competition in the pumpkin market is increasing. Around 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are produced on 75,000 acres in the United States annually. In 2009, pumpkins harvested from 44,100 acres were valued at $102.7 million USD. According to the University of Illinois, 90 percent of the pumpkins grown in the United States are raised within a 90-mile radius of Peoria, Illinois. Most pumpkins are processed into canned pumpkin and canned pie mix. In 2005, Illinois was number one among the top five pumpkin producing states, with almost 4.97 million pounds, followed by California with almost 1.6 million pounds, Ohio with 1.33 million pounds, Pennsylvania with 1.31 million pounds and Michigan with 854 thousand pounds.Top 5 facts sources: