Illinois Locks In Title Of Pumpkin Capital Of The World (Again)
Sure, our state certainly takes its share of slings and arrows for ongoing problems like political corruption, pension problems, high taxes, and a population that continues to shrink, but you have to give us our props when it comes to pumpkins.
Illinois proudly calls itself the pumpkin capital of the world, and like Muhammad Ali famously said, "It's not bragging if you can back it up!"
If Illinois Is The Pumpkin Capital Of The World, Morton Is The Capital City
Morton is a town of about 17,000 people in Tazewell County, southwest of Peoria, and Morton is all about the pumpkins. Morton, home to a Libby's pumpkin cannery that employs many in the local area, hosts the annual Morton Pumpkin Festival in the 2nd week of September.
Others May Claim To Be The Pumpkin Capital, But Morton Backs Up Their Claims
Doing a little research, I found that Floydada, Texas also calls itself the "pumpkin capital of the world." But, are they really?
No, they're not. Not even close.
As pointed out earlier, Morton is home to a Libby's pumpkin canning plant, and that plant cans 82% of the world's canned pumpkin. Can Floydada top that? Nope. If that weren't enough to convince you, maybe the USDA's data from last year might help. The USDA says that in 2020, the state of Illinois yielded 564 million pounds of pumpkin, which is equal to the total of the other top five states combined.
Illinois Has Literally Doubled-Down On Our Pumpkin Capital Claims
How did we do it? We added a lot of acreage to plant more pumpkins! According to Mashed.com, Illinois upped the amount of acreage used for growing pumpkins in 2020, giving the state a total of 15,900 acres, which is double the amount of each of the other states that cultivate the most pumpkins.