Pumpkin Prices at Premium

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If you've already bought a Halloween pumpkin this year, chances are you paid a little more than usual as a range of weather conditions wreaked havoc on this year's harvest.

Some of the biggest pumpkin-producing states were hit by a summer that was both too dry and too wet.

While it didn't spark a crisis, exactly, parts of the nation are experiencing a pumpkin shortage.

That doesn't mean there are too few pumpkins available — just that prices are up a few cents per pound.

The pumpkin industry yields $100 million a year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Drought caused pumpkin production to drop by two-thirds in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.

Then, too much rain brought trouble to pumpkin patches in other areas, including Illinois, the nation's largest pumpkin producer.

"We had 24 inches of rain for two weeks at the end of August," said Carrie Goebbert, owner of Goebbert's pumpkin farm in South Barrington, Illinois. "So all of our pumpkins were set, and a lot of them (because of the warm night and warm days) were fully mature and ended up rotting in the fields. They were basically floating."

She had to import pumpkins from Kentucky, New Mexico and Texas to meet demand; and raise prices from 35 cents to 39 cents a pound.

Still, her profits will be down substantially, Goebbert said.

"I know certainly in the surrounding farms — within 60 miles of our farm in every direction — had the same problem," Goebbert said



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