Iron Ford
  • The Great Pumpkin Shortage of 2016
    The Duchess

    Brett Templeton
    Friday, September 16, 2016

    I felt a great disturbance in the Force when the fall weather hit. It was as if millions of Ugg-clad college girls cried out and were suddenly silenced. We’re experiencing a pumpkin shortage. Yes, that means your pumpkin spice latte may be a rarity this year.

    I didn’t know about the issue until today. I don’t eat pumpkin, and I am one of very few Americans who doesn’t enjoy the smell of pumpkin candles. While we were eating lunch today, Stephanie informed the group that on her last trip to Wal-Mart she couldn’t find any pumpkin on their shelves. She even asked one of the workers, who told her they weren’t able to get any on their last shipment and didn’t know if any would come at all this year.

    Apparently in 2015 “crop experts” predicted a pumpkin shortage due to bad pumpkin harvests. We made it through the holiday season last year, but this year doesn’t look so promising. According to a website called College Candy, breweries have noted major pumpkin shortages when attempting to brew their pumpkin ale. The site said that “those who were late in the game are finding it next to impossible to obtain it at all.”

    While it’s this year’s problem, it began last year. Pumpkins need a specific balance of sun and moisture in the soil to grow properly, and apparently the two major pumpkin-producing states — Illinois and California — didn’t make that balance. We had too much rain, and California suffered the opposite problem with a drought.

    CNN reported that the 2015 US pumpkin crop only yielded 50 percent of what was normal, meaning a shortage of surplus inventory.

    The College Candy article did end by saying that the pumpkin shortage would probably only affect beer, however, and not the “sacred” lattes or pies. How that’s the case I’m not sure. I guess they get first dibs on the puree.

    Stephanie tells a different story, though. If Wal-Mart doesn’t have pumpkin, who does? Shouldn’t the super center with the biggest monopoly on selling just about everything have pumpkin before anyone else would?

    We asked Brooke if the Market Place had pumpkin on their shelves. Her initial response was, “It’s gonna get real bad if I don’t have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving,” which did not answer my question. She said she would check when she went to work this evening, so the jury is still out on that one.

    According to the Peoria Journal Star, a pumpkin farmer named Jim Ackerman said that while last year’s yields had a “very light tonnage” per acre, this years yields have been “average to above-average.” Apparently the carving pumpkins and pumpkins for consumption “such as those harvested for the Libby’s facility,” are in good shape.

    Whether or not we’ll have plenty of pumpkin I can’t safely say. All I know is Wal-Mart better get it together and find a supply. Get in contact with some black market people, it’s pumpkin spice season!

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