Harvesting pumpkin seeds: Carving a niche

In the Styria region in central Austria, many farmers have specialised in producing pumpkin seed oil. We visit two of these farms to find out more about the complex harvesting and drying process

by Sonke Schulz

From the end of August to the beginning of September in Styria, pumpkins are ripening in ideal conditions ready to be harvested for their seeds, which will be crushed to produce oil. Yet the pumpkin story starts back in the spring, when the fruit is sown in single rows at widths of between 70-160cm; the variation in row width depends on the farm. The crop is planted at 17,000 seeds per hectare.