Galey Farms getting into the Halloween spirit

Close to 40,000 pumpkins harvested for Pumpkinfest

Weather has forced Ray and Rob Galey to harvest about 40

With the climate playing new tricks, the pumpkins and strawberries are unsure what to do.

The frost is coming, explains Rob Galey, as he chews on a September strawberry growing in the “tunnels” of Galey Farms.

Because the frost is here – and Halloween isn’t – rot is threatening thousands of pumpkins.

“It was a long summer. The plants think it’s fall. It’s crazy.”

If it was five years ago, it would spell disaster for Galey Farms’ annual Pumpkinfest.

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to visit the Blenkinsop farm for its family-friendly train ride, corn maze and hayride throughout October.

Obviously, a field of rotten pumpkins isn’t good for business.

But the only sweat from Rob Galey, dad Ray and their employees right now comes from hard work.

“We just pulled out a harvest of at least 25,000 pumpkins and it will be about 40,000 when we’re done, and that’s just as a reserve,” Galey said. “There’s no way I’m going to run out of pumpkins for Pumpkinfest.”

Visitors can rest assured.

With two acres of Haygrove Tunnels (a temperature moderated form of greenhouse) purchased in recent years, the Galeys are able to store the 400 bins of pumpkins outside without fear of rot.

“We had to pull out 20,000 strawberry plants to do it, but what other choice did I have,” Galey said. “We had pumpkins turning orange in the third week of August. Never seen this before.”

The strawberry plants were tired and had been producing at the highest rate Galey’s ever seen.

The “tunnels” are actually a specialized transparent poly plastic that sits on a u-shaped arc. When sun hits the polymer the harmful rays are diluted while the helpful rays are broadcast into a spectrum. The walls of the tunnel can be lifted, thereby creating a temperature-controlled environment.

“No frost in the tunnels, we’re just lucky we have them. If I could, I’d cover the farm with these,” Galey said.

As much as Galey is figuring out how to answer the problem of a traditional pumpkin harvest that may no longer fall in late October, he’s also coming to terms with the weather boon that is supplying Vancouver Island strawberries for six months this year.

“Locally grown fruit on the Island for six months of the year? Can’t complain,” he said. “People drive here every day from Duncan, Ladysmith and farther because we have the best strawberries on the Island.”

The hayrides, corn maze and petting zoo of Pumpkinfest are open Saturdays and Sundays in October from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.


Just Posted

Two puppies snatched from East Sooke home

Anyone with information asked to contact Sooke RCMP

Saanich teen helps save three people from the Gorge

53-year-old male who was submerged is expected to recover

Moving Trans History Forward conference aimed at more than LGBTQ community

UVic’s Aaron Devor: “We’re all here to learn from each other”

Large fire destroys home on McClure Street in Victoria

Fire crews dispatched to the 1100-block shortly before noon Monday

Driver puts brand new truck into friend’s house

No one hurt, house damaged in Tillicum area

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Comox Valley Valley lotto ticket worth $2 million

Someone who purchased a lottery ticket in the Comox Valley was chanelling… Continue reading

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Man dies in crash on Island Highway

Man thrown from his vehicle, alcohol believed to be a factor in accident near Parksville

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

Ride-hailing company suspends all road-testing of such vehicles in U.S. and Canada

Spring snow melt uncovers dirty needles in B.C. city

Vernon residents are upset with number of needles being found around town with spring melt

Most Read