Pumpkin farmers warn of Halloween shortage

This Halloween could see a shortage of pumpkins in supermarkets after thousands rotted in fields following October's bout of wet weather. 

22nd October 2014
©Thinkstock - Pumpkin farmers warn of Halloween shortage

This Halloween could see a shortage of pumpkins in supermarkets after thousands rotted in fields, and farmers are calling 2014 the worst pumpkin season in a decade after October's bout of wet weather ruined crops.

An estimated 10 million pumpkins are grown in the UK each year, with 95% destined to become carved lanterns to celebrate All Hallow's Eve, whilst just 5% are consumed. Demand for the vegetable has also been rising yearly. 

This summer's mild weather coupled with recent rains has resulted in soft, green pumpkins being mulched, with the north of England seeing the most spoilt vegetables. 

Jim Meer, director of fruit and vegetable supplier Barfoots, said: “The recent weather has made harvesting conditions extremely difficult and with increased demand and lower yields it’s a juggling act to ensure our retail customers are getting sufficient stock through to fulfil the demand in store.”

Waitrose said that there might be supply problems in the North of England but that southern producers had fared better, whilst Sainsbury’s are implementing strategies to avoid pumpkins going unnecessarily into landfill, including educating shoppers about disposal and composting, and running a trial in which some customers will be able to return their pumpkins to store to be composted. 

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