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Weather Woes Result In Fewer, Smaller Pumpkins

Excess rain leads pumpkins to rot when they can't absorb all the water. Too little rain means pumpkins shoot roots deep into the ground to find moisture.

Pumpkin season is being challenged across the United States due to weather.

What About The Pie?

Earlier this fall, Libby’s announced fewer pumpkins would make it into cans this year as rainy weather in Illinois has affected the pumpkin crop.

Half of all pumpkins produced are canned, and overwhelmingly those pumpkins destined for cans come from Illinois.

A spokesperson for Libby’s reassured consumers that there would be enough pumpkin to get through this year’s Thanksgiving pie season, but the “cushion” of additional pumpkin won’t likely be here this year.

Small But Still Mighty

Other parts of the country saw less rain than usual.

That has left Virginia farmers with pumpkins that are smaller than expected, but farmers actually point out that less rain is better than too much rain.

Excess rain leads pumpkins to rot when they can’t absorb all of the water. Too little rain means pumpkins improvise — their roots go far enough into the soil to pull moisture out to grow.

(Not So) Giant Pumpkins?

On the west coast, heat caused giant pumpkins to become less… giant.

Half Moon Bay, California hosts the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off annually, and this year, the prize pumpkin weighed in at 1,969 pounds — a far cry from the previous year’s 2,058 pounds.

The winner was grown in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, an area that experienced slightly better weather this season.

Read More:

  • A Spooky Tale In Time For Halloween: Weather Cuts Into Pumpkin Crop (NPR)
  • Pumpkins smaller this season due to lack of rain (Your4State)
  • Drought takes a toll on the giant pumpkins of Half Moon Bay (SF Gate)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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