All that pumpkin-y goodness that comes with the fall holidays—tech Jack O'Lanterns, delicious pumpkin pies—has been spoiled by the wild wreck that was Irene. Farmers along the east coast are now warning that we're facing an extreme pumpkin shortage.
The Great Pumpkin is Dead, Charlie Brown. For this harvest season, anyway. With the savage rains that Irene brought with her, thousands of pumpkins were literally washed away in the floods. And that was only the hardest blow. Farmers had to weather heavy rains earlier in the planting season, forcing them to plant later than usual and making mature pumpkins scarcer. And with recent fungal outbreaks and cold snaps, it's been a hard year for the pumpkin all around.
Growers have since gotten pretty desperate, since a lot of money comes in with Halloween pumpkin sales. The ones you see on hayrides and pick in pumpkin patches will have to come from somewhere, so many farmers are buying them from as far out as California. But the shortage has ratcheted the wholesale price for the great orange gourd to twice the normal price.
So if you're going out to get a pumpkin for your stoop soon, show it some respect. [NPR]
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