HALF MOON BAY (KCBS) -The pumpkins won’t be as plump, and many will still probably look a little green when the grandest gourds weigh in for the famous Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival later this fall.

Farmers say an uncommonly cool summer along the coast led to a much shorter growing season stunted gourd to yield pumpkins on average 20 percent smaller than usual.

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“In August, we’ve only seen the sun about five days. The rest of the time, it was all fog,” said Chris Gounalakis, owner of Arata’s Pumpkin Farm.

And it’s the sun that turns the pumpkins orange, so right now they look more like watermelons than potential jack-o-lanterns.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

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Some growers take what Gounalakis calls drastic measures, cutting away the leaves of the plants to let the sun in, or even taking them off the vine.

“It works,” he said. “Matter of fact, our pumpkins are being cut as we speak.”

Last minute efforts on the first day of autumn may not make up for a season of split stems and total die-outs that some farmers have had to contend with.

Some farmers worry local contenders won’t make the grade on Oct 10 in a highly competitive contest where size is pretty much all that matters.

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