Local farmers have been devastated by Hurricane Irene, and that means they're unable to meet pumpkin demand this fall. Upstate farmer Darcy Pray, of Pray's Family Farms, told the Associated Press, "I think there's going to be an extreme shortage of pumpkins this year. I've tried buying from people down in the Pennsylvania area, I've tried locally here and I've tried reaching across the border to some farmers over in the Quebec area. There's just none around."
Many farming regions were badly hit by the hurricane-and-tropical storm, and now the apparent shortage has, in some places, doubled wholesale prices of pumpkins. Pray said her harvest of 15,000-20,000 pumpkins washed into Lake Champlain and other farmers recommend getting your Halloween gourds earlier rather than later.
An Indiana farmer said, "There's been a ton of people calling from New Jersey. We can sell every pumpkin we want to sell." And the AP has a tip for buyers from one New York farmer: You can preserve your pumpkins longer by "washing them with water mixed with a little bleach. That kills any fungus left over from the fields and staves off mold and rotting." Maybe farmers should also hope their pear trees look like this.