The Pumpkin Crisis of 2010

This is incredible, but true: there is no canned pumpkin on the shelves at any of our neighborhood stores. That’s right. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, if you want pumpkin, you have to buy a whole pumpkin “in the raw” and make the puree yourself. Not that I have anything against doing that, it’s just that sometimes – especially in the Fall – I get the sudden urge to make a pumpkin pie, (and whole pumpkins take up way too much space in my kitchen cupboards…)

The photo in this blog is of my very last can. This being a capitalist society, I could probably get about $6.00 for it today. If you don’t believe me, check out the two pages  – yes two! – of canned pumpkin on eBay, selling for outrageous prices.

So what’s behind the shortage? Here’s the “official” story: Libby’s, a Nestle brand, is made from the thousands and thousands of pumpkins grown in the “pumpkin capitol” of Morton, Ill. In case you’re interested, Libby grows only one cultivar of pumpkin: “Libby’s Select,” a “Dickinson” strain. It seems they had far too much rain there in 2009 – about 150% of normal totals. A company spokeswoman says last year’s shortage (I didn’t notice one, did you?) was caused by too much rain, which turned the fields into a quagmire, preventing the tractors from getting in there and harvesting. At this point, the story gets confusing. The spokeswoman claims that they started shipping pumpkin to stores early this year, and that there will be no shortage. So where in tarnation is it, then?


Any bidders?


I prefer the “One Pie” brand, which is made in West Paris, Maine. Guess what? I can’t find that anywhere, either. When I asked the supermarket manager why there was no canned pumpkin on the shelves, before scurrying away, he mumbled something about there being a “supply problem” and said it would arrive “soon” whatever that means.

Talking with my aunt in Canada the other day, I mentioned the pumpkin shortage, and she was incredulous. Yes, there was plenty on store shelves in Quebec, and why didn’t they simply import the stuff from Canada? I don’t have the answer, and I’m down to my last can of One Pie. Maybe I should just hang on to it in case the shortage persists right up to Thanksgiving. I could sell it to the highest bidder and pay for our turkey.

If you need a “from scratch” pumpkin puree recipe, you can find one here.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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10 Responses to The Pumpkin Crisis of 2010

  1. HerbDoc says:

    I love the “One Pie” brand too, and it’s all I use in my pumpkin pies. If worse comes to worse, it’ll be sweet potato pie this year! It tastes nearly identical to the pumpkin because of the spices used. Or for those who know me, I can forget the Thanksgiving pies altogether and just make cheesecake!


    • dirtynailz says:

      Cheesecake. Yum!
      I am not sure what to make of this. Surely corporations can make sure they have sufficient supplies – in this case, pumpkins. After all, it is 2010. The cynic in me wonders whether the “crisis” has been engineered.


  2. HerbDoc says:

    We’ll know after Thanksgiving when there are thousands of cans left on the shelves and they start the 2 for 1 sales!


  3. Wendy says:

    I like the idea of “one-pie”!

    Once I made a pumpkin pie for my husband. Steamed the pumpkin, grated the nutmeg, etc. In the end, he said it was just like his moms, but she used a can of pumpkin pie mix. I promised that day that I would never ever make a pumpkin pie for him again.

    on another note, his childhood buddy does drive bys and will pick up people’s old jack a lanterns off their trashcans, take out the candle and cook them up. YUCK!


    • dirtynailz says:

      That is kind of gross….and what about the candle wax?????
      The One Pie is just enough for one pie – hence the name. It is not pie filling, though – just the pumpkin puree. The pumpkin pie recipe on the label is so good that I saved it several years ago in my recipe binder, just in case they ever cease production.


  4. HerbDoc says:

    I laughed so hard when I read Wendy’s reply, I almost fell off my chair! A few years ago one of my son’s signficant others was intent on upstaging my pie making (no one in my family cooks pies since they think I’m the expert). She showed up with a pumpkin pie from scratch…the steaming, scraping etc. kind…and it was a ghastly green which no one would touch! So much for all of the work!! DN is so right; the recipe on the One Pie can is perfect and never fails to please.


  5. HerbDoc says:

    FYI: I went grocery shopping today and there were absoltely zero cans of One Pie at the Wal-Mart Supercenter. They did have the Libby’s
    pumpkin puree in limited amounts for $1.50 a can! Ouch!


  6. Pumpkin lover says:

    Sadly the pumpkin crisis continues in 2011, Irene apparently flooded many fields, it’s like One-Pie fell off the globe 😦


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