John Hollenhorst, Deseret News
OGDEN — With a crop built around a holiday tradition — think pumpkins at Halloween — a farmer sometimes has to break with tradition to make the best use of his fields.
It’s that time of year when pumpkins are coming out of the fields, into the stores and onto front porches everywhere. But this year, farmer Matt Peterson grew his crop of future jack-o’-lanterns using only one-third of the water his farm has traditionally used.
In this era of widespread drought and water shortages, some say the impressive water savings in Peterson’s Ogden pumpkin patch could be a model for other farmers.
“We grow about 60 acres of pumpkins every year,” Peterson said as he walked through a field of green, littered with the giant orange fruits that are so popular this time of year.
Peterson, whose farm does business under the name Ogden Bay Produce, has water shares in a canal company that allows him to take water for 19 hours every 7 ½ days. In earlier years he’s poured 1,500 gallons per minute into his fields during his watering periods.
“Now,” Peterson said, “I’m pumping 500 gallons a minute and I’m using that to water this entire farm. So that’s one-third of what I’m allotted to use. Same amount of production, same number of acres.”
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