Pumpkin Shortage: Fall Weather Might Jack up Your Jack-O-Lantern

by Shelby Scott
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This year has witnessed a continuance of climate-change-related catastrophes. This summer alone, the West Coast experienced (and continues to experience) unrelentingly deadly wildfires. Further, the East Coast has seen some insane flooding, not to mention an increase in tropical storms. Now, as Americans are rushing to pumpkin patches nationwide, it appears we’ll be encountering a whole new kind of shortage this year. As Halloween approaches, it looks like some of our worst nightmares will come true.

An overall increase in temperatures across the country has brought us into an unprecedented warm fall. As I just went apple-picking this weekend, I can attest that 80-degree temperatures are still plaguing the northeastern region of the U.S. The result? A major pumpkin shortage.

Farmers Nationally Struggle Against Worsening Weather Conditions

News outlets nationally have reported, and continue to report, a shortage of pumpkins, all related to intensely warmer weather. The Takeout reports that Charlotte, North Carolina farmers saw their pumpkin harvest cut almost in half.

The shortage, while a result of hotter temperatures, more specifically comes from a wet spring and summer, interfering with pumpkins’ growth habits. Instead, NC farmers have begun to import pumpkins from northward Ohio.

Additionally, NBC affiliate KSNT reports that Kansas too has been struck by the national pumpkin shortage. Annette Jackson, a local greenhouse and garden center owner, said, “The wet and the humidity here will cause a fungus to get started–so it’ll get into the crop that way.” She further explained that once the pumpkins lose foliage, which acts as a guardian to the fruit, bugs move in and ruin the crop, attracting wild animals such as raccoons.

Pumpkin Shortage Results from Several Climatic Factors

Throughout the Eastern region of the country, increased temperatures, flooding, and humidity have caused our pumpkin shortages. Meanwhile, across the country, farmers continue to struggle with slightly different climatic problems.

Alongside extreme heat, states like California continue to undergo intense drought. Combined with higher temperatures, drought conditions have left little water with which farmers maintain the crops. According to The Taste, some areas remain so drought-stricken, several pumpkin farms went out of business. Additionally, those farmers who have been able to remain in business opted not to plant pumpkins at all.

As a result, pumpkins across the nation remain high in demand and short in supply. With such bad luck surrounding this year’s fall crop, there’s a good chance pumpkin prices could very well double from what we’ve seen in previous years.

Therefore, if you haven’t gotten your pumpkins yet, you may want to look into getting them soon. It may also be a good idea not to carve them as early if temperatures continue to remain high.

Best of luck to all you Outsiders.

Outsider.com