Businesses experiencing 'difficult' pumpkin shortage this fall
NORFOLK, Neb. -- It’s not a shock to Nebraska that the ongoing drought has affected numerous things over the recent months.
With the fall season quickly approaching, some northeast Nebraska businesses are experiencing a pumpkin shortage.
Poppy's Pumpkin Patch, located in Norfolk, hasn't had the amount of pumpkins it usually does, owners said.
One of the owners, Mashaela Wolken, said it's not been easy this year.
“It’s been extremely...more difficult,” said Wolken. “Just because the time it takes to move hoses and water sometimes. Actually at the two acre field, we hand watered each pumpkin plant and that took anywhere between 16 to 20 hours each time we would have to do that, and without getting rain for weeks it just adds up.”
On a normal year, Wolken said they are usually well stocked for the public. But due to the shortage, she said the amount of pumpkins they have available has been cut drastically.
“The fields that we have that we were able to irrigate, we will produce most likely what we did last year.” she added. “This two-acre patch, we weren’t able to irrigate or water at all and so we’ll probably get ten percent out of it.”
Other businesses that grow and sell pumpkins have been dealing with other factors like bugs.
But Wolken said Mother Nature's impact on her business has been primarily tied to lack of moisture.
“I think it’s just rain.” she said. “I know other farms have been affected by bugs taking over their pumpkin plants. We have not. It’s just been lack of rain for us.”
Usually when there’s a shortage, prices go up. That’s not been the case for Poppy’s Pumpkin Patch, Wolken said. She noted that prices are about the same this year compared to last year.
“We haven’t really increased our prices,” said Wolken. “We are weighing per pound now and that’s just something we’ve been wanting to do. We’re pretty comparable to what we were last year. We want to be affordable to everybody. We don’t want to charge too much for pumpkins.”
With nobody knowing precisely when things could get better, Poppy’s Pumpkin Patch is being optimistic.
“This is our sixth season and so this is the first year that we have struggled with this,” Wolken said. “We’ve always had a good amount of pumpkins and I’m hoping next year we’ll get some rain.”