Hurricane Irene destroyed many pumpkin patches when it crippled the Northeastern states leading to a pumpkin shortage that could possibly double prices for Halloween.
I think there's going to be an extreme shortage of pumpkins this year, Darcy Pray, owner of Pray's Family Farms in upstate New York, told the Associated Press.
Wholesale prices for pumpkins have doubled in upstate New York and other regions, costing between $150 and $200 for bin of 32 to 45 pumpkins, according to the AP. The high cost of wholesale prices can lead to expensive retail costs for consumers purchasing jack-o-lanterns for the Halloween season.
Surging waters from Hurricane Irene in August seeped into the ground during the storm, causing many pumpkins to rot and lead to a shortage for the fall season.
Some farmers are struggling so badly to keep pumpkin plants surviving post-Irene that they are importing pumpkins from other pumpkin-rich regions like Illinois, Indiana, California, Ohio and Michigan at hefty prices to fulfill orders.
A late harvest did not help, as many farmers had to delay planting pumpkins for weeks during the heavy spring rain in the Northeast that caused a fungus leading to water mold. For pumpkin farmers, late harvests can be detrimental, as pumpkin sales are only lucrative between mid-September when pumpkins first appear on the market following harvest and Halloween on Oct. 31.
Now, an early frost, as the Northeast moves into colder months, threatens the survival of immature pumpkins and possibly even tourism, if enough healthy pumpkins cannot be harvested in time for pumpkin patches and attractions.
While it is unclear how the shortage will price pumpkins sold at retail, the double in wholesale price gives a clue that Halloween could be quite expensive this year.
Just get your pumpkins early, that's all I can say, Jim Stakey, owner of Stakey's Pumpkin Farm in Long Island, told the AP. It's going to be a difficult season.