Don’t Panic!

There’s a pumpkin shortage! There’s a pumpkin shortage! What will we do? Thanksgiving is ruined! Cancel autumn we may as well go right to the depths of winter! There’s no pumpkin!

Okay that’s not completely true. Most of the sugar pumpkins that go into cans for the holiday season are grown in Illinois. Here is a cool list of Illinois pumpkin facts from the IL Department of Agriculture. pumpkinfacts

Illinois had a lot of rain in June, leading to lower than usual production. Representatives from canned-pumpkin demagogue Libby’s has publicly noted that there will be enough to go around for Thanksgiving and Christmas pies, but not much extra afterwards.

Here are two articles that tell the whole story:

One from CNN

One from NBC News

What can we learn from this situation? Several things:

Firstly, don’t be sucked in to media sensationalism. This is true for all topics you may find covered in the news, not just food, nutrition, and agriculture topics. Get the whole picture before you react.

Secondly, we need to appreciate what it means to be a farmer. Farmers are at the mercy of the wind and weather. No matter how vast or how small the acreage it is hard work to be a farmer.

Thirdly, if you’re really worried, your DIY and DIYet skills will save you. You can probably find a “sugar pumpkin”, “baking pumpkin” or “pie pumpkin” from a local farm, farmer’s market, or even a supermarket. Buy one and make your own pie-ready puree; here’s how.  (PS: keep the seeds, because snack time!)

The takeaway from this PSA? Don’t panic- you have the ability to ensure your holiday parties are pumpkin competent. It’s really not that hard. You may decide you don’t need that canned stuff after all. You may find a really cool farm stand. You may just save Thanksgiving for your family. Give it a try!

UPDATE! I got two little insurance policies at the farm stand today. There will be pumpkin bread!

Farmers are awesome!

Farmers are awesome!