Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Canned Pumpkin Shortage: One Inventory Down to Six Cans

First, a look at last November:
"Libby's Warns of a Canned Pumpkin Shortage"
Diner's Journal, The New York Times blog (November 17, 2009>)

"As if preparing for Thanksgiving wasn't stressful enough for cooks, now comes this news: there is likely to be a canned pumpkin shortage.

"Nestlé, whose Libby brand is far and away the nation's most popular canned pumpkin, announced today that it might not have enough pumpkin for your pie.

" 'Our calculations indicate that we may deplete our inventory of canned Libby's pumpkin as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, said Paul Bakus, vice president for Nestlé's baking division.

"Heavy rains in the Midwestern states where most commercial pumpkins are grown have caused the problem. Soggy fields have made it difficult for farmers to get harvesting equipment to the pumpkins. As a result, the harvest, which usually begins in the Midwestern pumpkin fields in August, was late in coming. Acres of pumpkins sit still unharvested in Morton, Ill., which the company calls the 'pumpkin capital of the world.' Fungus is a big problem, so it is likely many of those pumpkins will be plowed under.

"Because supply was already down from 2008's lousy pumpkin harvest, there isn't much back stock...."

That was mid-November, last year.

More recently:

"pumpkin shortage"
gastronomeg, Food and Drink, Talk, Serious Eats (January 29, 2010)

"so, awhile back-around thanksgiving, methinks-there was a warning from the good folks of seriouseats to stock up on pumpkin b/c...."

The interesting part of this post, I think, is what's reported in the comments.

"Amid pumpkin shortage, growers hope for a dryer summer"
The Washington Post (June 2, 2010)

"Six cans: That's the sum total of the 100-Percent Pure Pumpkin inventory at Libby's, the company that dominates the U.S. market.

"And that, in turn, has limited consumer options before the start of another high-use season. A couple of 29-ounce cans of Libby's are going for nearly $30 on eBay. A meager supply of organic canned pumpkin is available in Washington area stores.

"With pumpkin-planting season about three weeks away, you could get ready to grow your own. But the best bet might be to start praying for sunshine in pumpkinland, or central Illinois, source of nearly 95 percent of all American-grown pumpkins that are commercially prepped, cooked and canned.

"By harvest time late last summer, after three growing seasons with too much rain and not enough sun...."

There's quite a bit of detail in this Washington Post article, about pumpkins: what they are, how they grow, and why canned pumpkin has been so hard to find lately.

On a more personal note: I'm a town boy, but I've lived much of my life in agricultural areas. I've picked up a few bit and pieces of knowledge along the way.

Once in a while, after a rainy spell, you might hear someone say, 'it's good for the farmers.' Sometimes that's true. Sometimes, not so much: as in the case of the waterlogged pumpkin crops.

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Arr, matey: "The interesting part of this post, I think, are what's"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Arr! It be fixed, lass!

I thank ye!

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