Filed under: food issues, gardening | Tags: commercial farming, heirloom, Libby's, pumpkins, shortage
Pumpkin has been missing from the shelves of the grocery store for a long time now. There’s a big pumpkin shortage and the interesting part of that story is that 95% of all the commercially grown pumpkin is grown in a very small area in Illinois. They’ve had terrible growing seasons and alas, no pumpkin! Read more in the Washington Post here. Libby’s grows 5000 acres of pumpkins in Morton Illinois!
Apparently some west coast growers are stepping in to fill some of the demand, but it’s not quite enough to satisfy our need for stuff.
How do things look for this year’s pumpkin pie season? I don’t know, I’ve read that they’ve had a lot of rain again this year, but this picture looks good!
Photo: Abbie Short (Carmi Times)
I found an article about the harvest in the Carmi Times, of the harvest beginning in Norris City, Il. Apparently Nestle (owner of Libby’s) has been planting up more and more acres in this region, a bit south of Morton. They were renting 250 acres but in the last five years it’s grown to 1600 acres. They say that they can get 1500 pumpkins per acre. You can do the math on that.
Here’s how our own pumpkin math worked out.
This year we put in a nice big patch of pumpkins–and they took off.
But alas, it wasn’t a huge crop, and many of them started to develop and then rotted. Sigh. And then, they were just so early with the heat! And who wants to eat them when it’s 90 degrees? Not us. So they’re packed away now.
Luxury Winter Pie pumpkins–we harvested 4 of these cute little basketballs. From Baker Creek: “This beautiful pumpkin was introduced by Johnson & Stokes in 1893. Lovely 6-lb golden fruit have white netting and are perfect for pies. In fact, this is one of the best tasting pie pumpkins you can grow, with very sweet and smooth flesh, a favorite of all who grow it.” They did have a slightly textured surface on them. And only one of them got to the 6 pound size. But they’re all cut up and frozen waiting for pie time.
Musquee de Provence pumpkins–are very beautiful –as per the photo that opened this post! Baker Creek describes them: “These gorgeous, big flat pumpkins are shaped like a big wheel of cheese, and are heavily lobed and ribbed. The skin is a beautiful, rich brown color when ripe. The flesh is deep orange, thick and very fine flavored, fruit grow to 20 lbs. each. This is a traditional variety from southern France and makes a great variety for fall markets.” These aren’t ready yet but we’ve got three that are starting to turn orange. A lot of little ones developed and then rotted at about 2 or 3 pound size. ARGH.
We also grew some butternut squash “Rogosa Violina Gioia.” According to Baker Creek these are: “Italian Butternut-type squash, these have a violin shape and wrinkled tan skin, the flesh is deep orange and sweet, perfect for desserts, roasting, stuffing and baking. Good for marketing.” Yep they sure do look different than your usual butternut squash. Wrinkly–a LOT! We’ve harvested 3 of those and have two more coming along. One of them was 7.5 pounds! It had a tiny spot of damage, so we blanched them and froze them in chunks just to be safe.
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