There’s a UK pumpkin crisis – just before Halloween!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 14:05 GMT -
But the weather could cast doubt on the appearance of one Halloween staple this year – the Jack O’Lantern – as heavy rain has ruined the British pumpkin crop.
The season started well for pumpkin growers. August and September gave a decent amount of sunshine, which is essential for pumpkin growth, but the rain which followed in October meant their skins have become soft, causing them to fall apart before they are harvested.
One farmer in Lincolnshire told the Guardian newspaper:
“It’s the worst I’ve seen for a decade. It’s a very short harvesting season of three to four weeks, but it is a write-off for 2014. The weather has made it impossible to harvest the crop in the field and what is coming out is neither up to the appearance required by the retailer or the quality to last through until Halloween. Our forecast is very bleak and I cannot see supply lasting further than the weekend.”
Some growers have cited this year as the worst pumpkin season in a decade, with hundreds of thousands of unusable pumpkins left rotting in the fields.
Pumpkin crops have suffered in the north of England, but further south, warmer weather earlier in the growing season has actually led to an abundance of pumpkins available.
Supermarkets insist that they will be able to cope with the demand despite the damaged crops, with Waitrose expecting to sell 12% more carving pumpkins than last year, and Sainsbury’s estimating that it will shift 1.5 million of them in the lead up to Halloween.
However, if you do find yourself without a pumpkin this year, you can always resort to the traditional Jack O’Lantern - and make it out of a turnip! Leave yourself plenty of time, as carving a turnip is decidedly trickier than carving a pumpkin!