Pumpkin Lovers Be Advised: Stock Up

Jack-o-lanterns are not endangered, but your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie could be.

When it comes to pumpkins, there’s good news and there’s bad.

The good news is there should be enough pumpkins for you to carve a jack-o-lantern for Halloween. But the bad news will likely leave pumpkin pie-lovers with a rumbling stomach: Come Thanksgiving, you may be hard pressed to find enough canned pumpkin to make a pie.

The pumpkin crop isn’t looking that great, according to the Associated Press. In fact, the pumpkin yield could be off by up to a third this year in Illinois, which produces 90 percent of the pumpkins grown in the United States, after record heavy rainfall in June washed away much of the crop.

The shortage likely won’t affect Halloween pumpkins, but canned pumpkin is another matter. Come Thanksgiving, you may be scrambling to find a can of pumpkin to make a pie.

“I would not wait until Nov. 20 [to buy canned pumpkin],” University of Illinois plant pathology professor Mohammad Babadoost told the AP, referencing the Nov. 26 Thanksgiving holiday. “I’d buy it whenever it comes to the store.”

Illinois-based Libby, the largest canned pumpkin manufacturer in the country, told the AP that they should have enough pumpkin to get Americans through the autumn holidays, but after that, there’s no guarantee.

But Libby’s corporate and brand affairs director Roz O’Hearn said, “Once we ship the remainder of the 2015 harvest, we’ll have no more Libby’s pumpkin to sell until harvest 2016.”

Jane Moran, owner of Moran’s Orchard based in Neoga, Illinois, told the AP that rain washed out her pumpkin crops twice, forcing the farm to buy pumpkins at auction now twice a week.

“When you deal with Mother Nature, you just have to take it and go on,” Moran said.

Halloween jack-o-lantern pumpkins and pie pumpkins are different, The Christian Science Monitor explains. Farmers reported that many pie pumpkins were wiped out, but ornamental pumpkins didn’t fare quite as badly.

Are you a pumpkin pie-lover? What do you think about the potential shortage of canned pumpkins? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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