Growers have warned that a combination of poor weather in August, a lack of pickers and the ongoing HGV driver shortage could result in a shortage of pumpkins for Halloween.
The lack of sunshine last month is being blamed for slow growing and ripening of the crop in areas across the south and midlands. In many areas night time temperatures failed to exceed 15 deg. C, one of the key ripening triggers for the crop.
On top of a reduced crop, a lack of workers to harvest and transport the crop could further limit availability come October. Lyburn Farm near Salisbury told its customers, “We are not taking any more orders for the 2021 season for the time being as we are oversubscribed and not even running a waiting list. The crop is now looking good but slow to ripen due to lack of sunshine and heat, as a result they are still looking very green.”
Richard Simkin of Essington Farm near Wolverhampton told the press that his crop of 30,000 pumpkin plants would not be affected by supply chain issues because he runs a pick-your-own business and sells directly to customers at the farm shop. “Our crop is looking quite good at the moment, but the crucial thing now will be if the weather gets better between now and the end of October. We are certainly not counting our chickens at the moment,” he said.