ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — A Cornell University expert says this should be a good year for pumpkins.

Cornell horticulture professor Steve Reiners (RYE'-ners) says the pumpkin crop this season is benefiting from the dry, warm weather in September. The dry conditions helped ripen the crop and minimized pumpkin diseases.

This year is an improvement over last year, when there was a drought.

Reiners' advice for purchasing pumpkins: look for ones that have a sturdy stem. Soft stems can mean the pumpkin is prone to rotting. And stay away from pumpkins with soft spots.

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