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Fake Pumpkin Shortage

There has been much talk about the shortage of pumpkins, pumpkin pie filling and pumpkin pies this season (Canadian Thanksgiving). Is it just Toronto that has cornered the market on pumpkin products. Walmart had stacks of pumpkin pie filling (in 2 sizes of tines) masses of baked pumpkin pies . Sane thing in No Frills and Loblaws.

Has the pumpkin mafia been trying to squeeze the market?

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  1. "squeeze the market?"

    I think it was more like Hurricane Irene. Upstate NY lost 80% of the pumpkin crop due to flooding from that storm. I don't know how NY state's crop affects Toronto, or the canned pumpkin processors in the region, but we haven't seen much of any fresh pumpkins in markets here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Where in upstate do you mean? It's a broad category and varies depending where in the state you live. I know of people in the City who call anything north of Ossining as "Upstate." -lol

      The local (central NY) pumpkin market seems to be doing just fine. I've seen loads of squashes and pumpkins at the Farmers' Market and I bought 2 sugar pumpkins at the store just yesterday out of a huge pile of gourds: butternut, buttercup,acorn squash and sugar pumpkins. I saw some canned pumpkin puree in the store yesterday as well.

      Maybe it's a bit different farther east by Mass and downstate, but we're good with pumpkins here. I have heard about the crops in New England being decimated by Irene, but all the reports I've seen indicate that the NY state pumpkin crop is just fine, booming even.

      1. re: BabsW

        I was thinking of the area where Irene did the most damage, the Hudson Valley area. It was widely reported in the news, after the storm, that 80% of farms in NY state sustained crop damage, with 20-30% significant damage, with NJ and CT being affected as well. Perhaps where you are was not affected particularly. Canned pumpkin quantities in the market will probably not be affected either.

        The counties that suffered crop damage are Albany, Ulster, Orange, Sullivan, Greene, Schoharie, Dutchess and Delaware, to varying degrees. If you're in central NY state, then you most likely were out of range. Pumpkins weren't the only crops damaged, btw.

        We haven't seen many fresh pumpkins in markets or vegetable stands in my neighborhood; I'm sure there are some available in farmer's markets and high end markets in the city, with higher prices this year, but none in my neighborhood to date.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/nyr...

        Anything beyond NYC is upstate NY to me, as in no longer NYC.

    2. Pumpkin pie filling is different than canned pumpkin, which was in short supply last year and this year (in California) supposedly because of the weather- the weeks of unusual heat and then the flooding, tornadoes and the hurricanes.

      There are pumpkins for sale, but not as many as in previous years; there used to be pumpkin patches on many street corners and I've only seen one set up so far. The price of a baking pumpkin is at $3 on sale this week and about $5 as a regular price.

      1. This is the third year of what is becoming an annual event.

        There always seems to be plenty of breathless warnings before the holidays and canned pumpkin still on grocery shelves afterward.

        1. hurricane irene, tropical storm lee, and weeks of flooding in areas have indeed hurt the pumpkin crop. canned pumpkin may be from last year.

          1. In previous years the shortage in canned pumpkin was attributed to a poor crop in the Libby's fields. At the same time a much smaller producer of organic pumpkin in Oregon had no supply problems.

            3 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              Curiously, it wasn't so much a poor crop, as the fields being too muddy to get the trucks in to haul them out, and most simply rotted on the vines.

              As for a poor crop, consider the chinese farmers who started adding growth accelerators to their fertilizer mix and the watermelons are exploding in the fields. Kapow! There goes another one....

              1. re: Veggo

                Exactly - when I was driving to visit my parent's home through Illinois, I drove past fields and fields of pumpkins just rotting in muddy fields. Sad.

                1. re: Veggo

                  "watermelons are exploding in the fields"

                  Now that whole thing was just bizarre.

              2. In NJ pumpkins, canned pumpkin products and countless new pumpkin items (baked goods, dairy, etc.) are in good supply. The pick your own pumpkin farms are charging .55/lb for pumpkins. Sorry to hear that some parts of the country aren't doing as well on supply but then again here in NJ we pay a premium for most citrus and other produce year round compared to other parts of the US. For instance, under similar weather conditions having influence on supply...in NJ avocados have been .49/each and 4.00/each....when I visit friends in Ojai, CA I can walk their neighborhood and pick them off the trees.

                1. We were just up near Newburgh, NY yesterday and the orchards seemed to be charging $.65 per pound for pumpkins. One of our local stores had them for $.49 per pound, though, so we decided to wait. We went over to a winery near Warwick, NY and passed a wagon on the way that had BIG pumpkins (25+ pounds) for $5 each, leave your money in the box. So that's what we did! There doesn't seem to be a shortage in the Hudson Valley, although prices are maybe a bit higher than usual.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: biondanonima

                    95% of the canned pumpkin crop comes from central Illinois, so the localized weather conditions have a huge impact on the market.

                    1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                      A good story line: "The Ill. annoying pumpkin debacle"

                    2. Here in NH it's hard to find pumpkin in the stores. All I've been able to find is organic pumpkin at Hannaford supermarket..

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rizzo0904

                        kimballs farm in hollis nh / pepperell ma had a respectable qty today.... small ones were $3 a piece......

                      2. Here in Texas we are in a severe drought, and I heard that pumpkins would be much smaller and at higher prices. However, yesterday at Walmart there seemed to be an abundance of pumpkins and they didn't seem too expensive.

                        1. Make sweet potato pie, instead. Don't tell anyone and they will wonder why the pumpkin pie tastes so good. ;-)

                          1. I fell for the "shortage" two or so years ago. Needless to say, while there was still plenty of pumpkin on the grocery shelves all season and the year after, I didn't have to buy any of it since I was still working through my stash!