Canned pumpkin is available all year round. I know this because sometimes I will buy some for my dog, who really enjoys eating it with his kibbles. But for most of the year, the vast majority of us are completely indifferent to whether there’s pumpkin available or not. And then fall comes and everyone develops a collective urge to whip up pumpkin everything. Except this year, people turned to store shelves and the pumpkin... wasn’t there.
Was this another great cosmic prank, another insane plot twist in the ongoing saga of 2020? Would canned pumpkin become the yeast or toilet paper of October? Would there be a black market for it? Would parents destroy their kids’ jack o’lanterns so that there would be pumpkin pie on the table at Thanksgiving?
Fortunately, the answer to all these questions is no. As Libby’s, the primary producer of canned pumpkin, told the world in an Instagram message, there will be pumpkin this year, just a little later than usual because the harvest was delayed due to weather conditions.
As Libby’s added in a comment, “Keep calm and pumpkin on!”
Allrecipes, not content with corporate pablum, decided to check with the pumpkin farmers directly to make sure there wasn’t a cover-up. (You never know, do you?)
“As far as I know, there’s not a pumpkin shortage,” John Ackermen, a self-proclaimed pumpkin geek, or “professor of pumpkinology,” told Allrecipes. In addition to all these things, Ackerman is also a pumpkin farmer in Morton, Illinois, the nation’s pumpkin capital. “There was unusual weather; every year brings its own weather challenges. We had a few rain delays planting, but that didn’t affect the yield of the crop. It might have delayed it just a little bit, but really and truly we’re having a terrific crop here at our place.”
Raghela Scavuzzo, associate director of food systems development with the Illinois Farm Bureau, told Allrecipes that she suspects the rumors of a pumpkin shortage started because people were jumping the pumpkin gun because of COVID-19. This year, after all, was the earliest Starbucks had ever released the Pumpkin Spice Latte. But, she assured everyone, “there will be plenty of pumpkin for Halloween and Thanksgiving.”
Libby’s promises that canned pumpkin should reach stores in mid-October, which is just about now. So let’s heave a huge sigh of relief and brace ourselves for the next crisis.