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A Pumpkin-Pie Shortage Is Looming Thanks to Heavy Summer Rains


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So while California has its worst drought, the midwest is having too much rain and flooding?!

Libby’s, which ordinarily produces 80 percent of canned pumpkin in the U.S., will this year make enough to bake about 45 million 8-inch pumpkin pies, half of what it originally planned.

“Maybe that means you’ll have one slice instead of two,” said Roz O’Hearn, a spokeswoman for Nestle USA.

That orange fruit may be the greatest victim so far of this summer’s record rainfall, which also dented corn and soybean yields in the eastern Midwest. The inclement weather meant delayed planting and germination and fewer blossoms turning into fruit, said John Ackerman, who owns Ackerman Farms in Morton, Illinois. Much of the crop that’s destined for processing was planted before June and had to sit in water-logged fields, he said.

The U.S. produced 1.31 billion pounds (600,000 metric tons) of pumpkins in 2014, according to government data. U.S. sales of pumpkin-pie filling were $134.1 million in the 52 weeks through Aug. 22, according to data from Nielsen.

The pumpkins Libby’s uses for canning aren’t suited for Halloween jack-o’-lanterns: they’re oval-shaped, pale orange and heavy, with a dense, meaty interior, according to O’Hearn. Libby’s has contracts with farmers within a radius of about a 50 miles (80-kilometers) of its canning plant in Morton, a town that’s home to an annual pumpkin festival.

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