CONSUMER

Utah’s summer drought causes pumpkin shortage

Oct 24, 2022, 6:46 PM | Updated: 7:07 pm

SANPETE COUNTY, Utah — Inflation and supply shortages are likely to make an impact on Halloween plans, especially if people don’t already have their pumpkins.

Farmers are experiencing a weak harvest, which is affecting some of them and your neighborhood grocery store.

Farmers like David Beck at Beck Family farms near Gunnison, Utah, said some of the grocery stores they normally supply to have already had to start looking out of state to pull in supplies to get through October.

“A lot of customers. Our pumpkins look pretty good,” Beck said.”Every day, all these pumpkins are sold.”

But this year, he’s had to make some tough choices.

“We have 100 acres on this particular farm. And we grew a 20-acre pumpkin patch, and the other 80 acres were set idle,” Beck explained.

With a limited water supply, Beck Family farms have kept the focus on pumpkins, cutting out grains and alfalfa for this year.

“People have to need a pumpkin. It’s going to keep the evil spirits away,” he said

Still, their yields for dozens of varieties of pumpkins are significantly lower than normal because of the ongoing drought and the hot summer.

“Last year, with a drought problem like this year, we were able to buy a thousand tons of pumpkins and still meet our three-thousand quota,” Beck said. “And this year, they’re just not available to buy.”

Beck said farmers statewide are experiencing a shortage. He typically supplies to Smiths and Associated Foods stores.

“We’ve got about 200 tons lined up to take out, but normally this week, we’re selling 100 tons a day, and so in two days, we’ll be out,” said

Beck also said they supply pumpkins to local pick-your-own patches, as they take them from the farm to the fields. However, he is hearing that they are all sold out for the season.

A farmer his whole life, Beck said there’s always some kind of challenge.

“Overall, a very tough year. One of the toughest we’ve experienced,” he said.

But pumpkin growing is something they expect to keep doing for many more generations.

“It keeps you young. Sometimes at the end of the day, you’re feeling old.”

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Utah’s summer drought causes pumpkin shortage