Potential pumpkin shortage

Pumpkin pudding

If a pumpkin pie usually graces your holiday dessert table or if you are craving a creamy pumpkin soup, you may want to stock up on canned pumpkin. US pumpkin harvest is down by about half, and the UK harvest isn't faring much better, as it's off by a third. In both instances, rain is the culprit: early rains washed out much of the US crop, and August rain in the UK caused significant damage.

Libby's, the largest US producer, says it will probably have enough pumpkin to last through the Thanksgiving holiday, but there's no guarantee that there will be enough to hold forth through Christmas and beyond. "We're disappointed that the yields this year are less than we anticipated," said Roz O'Hearn, spokeswoman for Nestle, Libby's parent company. "We won't have much 'reserve' stock -- if any at all -- to carry us into the new year."

In the UK, the pumpkin shortage has meant fewer pumpkins and higher prices for Halloween pumpkin carving and fall decorating. The shortage isn't evenly spread throughout the country, however. Some areas have abundant supplies and moderate prices while other areas are feeling the pinch.  If you are in a shortage area, you may want to consider carving another vegetable. "English Heritage recommends the old ways: traditionally, turnips were carved into scary faces and placed near doorways to frighten away evil spirits."

Pumpkin shortages have been predicted in recent years, but in those cases I never noticed a scarcity on store shelves. This year, however, I am seeing fewer cans on display in some stores, although I have not noticed a large price increase. What's the pumpkin outlook where you live?

Photo of Pumpkin pudding (A.K.A no-pie pumpkin pie) from Food52 by Alice Medrich                            


  • Nancith  on  10/28/2015 at 7:29 AM

    That's unfortunate! Might have to substitute butternut squash.

  • Larkspur  on  10/29/2015 at 3:40 PM

    I always use butternut squash, which I get in abundance from a local farm. I have plenty to get me through the season.

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