Prepare for a shortage of pumpkin pies this year as a rainy June has destroyed more than 50 percent of the nation's crop.
Bakers preparing for a pumpkin-pie filled fall season are scrambling to get their hands on the last stocks of canned pumpkins. According to a report from Reuters, a rainy June has left pumpkin farmers high and dry, with less than half of their expected harvest making its way to market.
According to Roz O’Hearn, a spokesperson for Nestle, which owns Libby’s, the country’s largest pumpkin canning production facility, people are already planning as far ahead as Thanksgiving.
Libby’s is scheduled to ship the last of its canned pumpkin inventory to grocery stores at the beginning of November, but it does not expect to have any more in stock until the next year’s harvest.
The vast majority of the United States’ canned pumpkins come from Illinois, roughly 90 percent. Morton, IL, the self-proclaimed pumpkin capital of the world, is situated roughly 160 miles south of Chicago.
Heavy rains early in the growing season led to an abundance of moisture in the hot summer months, which bred phytophthora blight and downy mildew throughout the pumpkin patches. Canning pumpkins were hit the hardest, but ornamental pumpkins, squash, and gourds fared better in the rainy season.
O’Hearn recalls a similar pumpkin shortage in 2009 when heavy rains impeded the harvest effort. Canned pumpkin was quickly bought off the store shelves, and appeared in online marketplaces for high prices.