The Newest Shortage May Ruin Your Holiday, Experts Warn
This item is limited in stock at the worst time possible.
For many of us, Halloween is a month-long holiday that starts the moment the clock strikes midnight on Oct. 1. Festive folks across the country are already getting their homes ready for the spooky season, decorating their spaces with skeletons and ghosts, queuing up the Halloween movies, and stocking up on their trick-or-treating candies. Unfortunately, one shortage is threatening to ruin festive plans already. Read on to find out what product is in limited supply at the worst time possible for the holiday.
Pumpkins are facing a shortage this year.
Annette Jackson, the co-owner of Jackson's Greenhouse and Garden Center in Topeka, Kansas, told NBC-affiliate KSNT that there are fewer pumpkins for people to buy this year because of a shortage. "Now they're hard to find and they're extremely expensive," she said.
Like many shortages hitting the country, the pandemic and a lack of workers heavily contributed to the limited stock of pumpkins this year. "A lot of the patches just went out of business. They gave up," Marty Martinez, who has been buying pumpkins for Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, California, for 25 years, told ABC 7. He said that this year has been unlike any other in terms of limited supply.
Experts say climate issues also played a part in the shortage.
Many farmers also said climate issues have contributed to the pumpkin shortage. According to Jackson, a decent pumpkin harvest is largely dependent on good weather through the harvest season in May to the end of August. Farmers in Charlotte, North Carolina, said that a wet spring and summer forced them to cut their harvest by nearly half, Fox 8 reported.
For others, it was the opposite problem. In Half Moon Bay, California, a drought prevented many pumpkin farmers from conducting their normal production process. "Because of the drought, a lot of farmers didn't plant because of water. We usually plant 10 acres. This year, we only did half of that," Danny Lopes, co-owner of John's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay, told ABC 7.
If you do find pumpkins this year, they're likely to be more expensive.
Right now, most retailers should still have pumpkins in stock if you want to grab them while you can. Employees at Simpson's Pumpkins and Trees in South Charlotte, North Carolina, told Fox 8 that the second week of October is expected to be the busiest pumpkin-buying time for the retailer. But even if you do buy early to avoid not being able to find any pumpkins, expect to encounter higher prices because of the limited stock. Simpson's manager Owen Simpson told the news outlet that they've had to raise prices a little this year.
Martinez also confirmed to ABC 7 that costs are likely to be higher for customers. "In some cases, prices have doubled. Especially for the specialty white ones. They can be hard to come by," he said.
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This is not the only holiday-related shortage popping up this year.
As the fall holidays approach, Halloween is not the only special day facing a challenging shortage. Recently, experts sounded the alarm that a turkey shortage may affect many families' holiday feasts this year. Shady Brook Farms, one of the nation's largest turkey suppliers, warned distributors and retailers in a late July letter that there's bad news about the "status of fresh, whole turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas" this year, as reported by The New York Post.
Smaller fresh and frozen turkey under 16 pounds will be particularly in short supply, Phil Lempert, a food trends analyst and editor of Supermarket Guru, told Today. "Holiday food shopping this year will be more challenging than ever," he said.