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Fin, this Thursday (Thanksgiving Day in USA) is the number 1 Pumpkin Pie consumption day of the year. Mmmmm, it's soooo goooooood!


November 17, 2009, 2:28 pm

Libby’s Warns of a Canned Pumpkin Shortage


As if preparing for Thanksgiving wasn’t stressful enough for cooks, now comes this news: there is likely to be a canned pumpkin shortage.

Nestlé, whose Libby brand is far and away the nation’s most popular canned pumpkin, announced today that it might not have enough pumpkin for your pie.

“Our calculations indicate that we may deplete our inventory of canned Libby’s pumpkin as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday,†said Paul Bakus, vice president for Nestlé’s baking division.

Heavy rains in the Midwestern states where most commercial pumpkins are grown have caused the problem. Soggy fields have made it difficult for farmers to get harvesting equipment to the pumpkins. As a result, the harvest, which usually begins in the Midwestern pumpkin fields in August, was late in coming. Acres of pumpkins sit still unharvested in Morton, Ill., which the company calls the “pumpkin capital of the world.†Fungus is a big problem, so it is likely many of those pumpkins will be plowed under.

Because supply was already down from 2008’s lousy pumpkin harvest, there isn’t much back stock.

But what’s bad news for commercial growers in the Midwest has been good news for organic pumpkin concerns on the West Coast. Organic pumpkin makes up only about 3 or 4 percent of the overall canned pumpkin market, but in Oregon the crop was so good that organic pumpkins are able to fill at least a little of the gap left by the Libby shortage.

At Farmers Markets Foods in Corvallis, Ore., the nation’s largest producer of organic canned pumpkin, phones are ringing. Buyers who were put on allocation or told they were not going to get canned pumpkin have been calling in record numbers looking for an alternative, said Tracy Miedema, national sales and marketing manager.

“We’re still shipping canned pumpkin by the truckload,†she said.

And she didn’t think the Libby announcement was some kind of marketing ploy.

“I think Libby’s is giving fair warning,†she said. “The last thing they want is for shoppers to panic that they’re not going to get pumpkin.â€

Maybe you can buy some fresh pie pumpkins and make your pie from scratch.

This one is less custardy than traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pies.

Or, if you want to use your family’s traditional pumpkin pie recipe, you can make your own purée. It’s not a fast process, but it will do in a pinch. Quarter a couple of small sugar pumpkins (don’t use the Halloween pumpkins), scraping out the seeds and fibers. Roast the pieces flesh side up in a 350-degree oven for about an hour and a half. Scoop out the flesh, process in a food processor and then let the purée drain through a few layers of cheesecloth.

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Upon arriving in Brazil 5 years ago, I packed along the custom of Thanksgiving. My family here has celebrated on the American holiday each year since. Although they do raise turkeys here, we prefer to have a slightly smaller bird with amazingly succulent taste and always very moist, called a chester. The bird seems never to be cooked wrong! We will have the usual side dishes, but no pumpkin pie. We substitute banana cream for it. The canned pumpkin essential for a good pie is just not available here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends who celebrate that holiday! :thumbsup:

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