Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Does that look tasty?

Well, don't get too excited if it does. My dad took a recent trip to Hannaford in upstate new York (a large grocery store chain for all you downstaters who haven't heard of it), and while perusing the can goods isle, he came to the section where pumpkin pie filling normally would sit. There he had a nasty surprise. Instead of finding rows of neatly stacked canned pumpkin awaiting being made into Aunt Helen's fluffy pumpkin pie, there was a sign taped in its place. PUMPKIN SHORTAGE, NO PUMPKIN PIE FILLING CURRENTLY AVAILABLE.

Really? I know it was a bad year from pumpkins this year. A recent trip to a patch confirmed this when I saw green and pale orange pumpkins peppering the field with no hopes of every reaching their full orange ripeness due to an early frost that withered their vines. This was exacerbated by heavy rains rotting seeds, extreme summer temperatures, and two types of pumpkin rot that struck last year. But can there possibly be a shortage so great that a large grocery store chain can't find it to stock?

I did a little googling to confirm my findings, and apparently the answer is yes. Due to bad crops last year, available pie pumpkins is down to 1/3 of what it normally would be. This will impact the jack-o-lantern market, and Thanksgiving this year. But don't freak out yet. People trying to fight the pumpkin panic have suggested that we can substitute cooked butternut squash for pies this season, or try organic brands that aren't typically as popular and do not sell out so quickly.

This is all true, but what will the kids carve for halloween this year? How will they toast the seeds of a squash? Good thing I already secured my pumpkin. You should get yours, before it's too late.

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