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Pumpkin Prices at Premium
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Pumpkin Prices at Premium


If you've already bought a Halloween pumpkin this year, you may have had to pay a little more than usual. That's because some of the biggest pumpkin-producing states just emerged from a summer that was both too dry and too wet.

NPR's Anthony Brooks reports.

ANTHONY BROOKS: It's not exactly a crisis, but parts of the nation are experiencing a pumpkin shortage. That doesn't mean there are no pumpkins available, just that prices are up a few cents a pound in what the Department of Agriculture says is a hundred-million-dollar-a-year industry.

Drought caused pumpkin production to drop by two-thirds in states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. Then too much rain brought trouble to pumpkin patches in other areas, including parts of Illinois, the nation's largest pumpkin producer.

Carrie Goebbert owns Goebbert's Pumpkin Farm in South Barrington, Illinois.

Ms. CARRIE GOEBBERT (Owner, Goebbert's Pumpkin Farm): We had 24 inches of rain in two weeks - the end of August. So all of our pumpkins were set and a lot of them were - because of the warm nights and the warm days - were fully mature and ended up rotting in the fields. They were basically floating. But I know, certainly with the surrounding farms, within 60 miles of our farm in every direction had the same problem. Put it that way.

BROOKS: Goebbert says she had to import pumpkins from Kentucky, New Mexico and Texas to meet demand and raise prices from 35 to 39 cents a pound. And she says this year her pumpkin profits will be down substantially. Elsewhere in the country, even where pumpkins are plentiful, reports of a pumpkin shortage have prompted wholesale prices to edge up as well.

Anthony Brooks, NPR News.

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