California’s neverending drought spares no plant, animal, or holiday tradition. The record-setting dry spell threatens organic dairy, craft beer, grass-fed beef, almonds, lawns, hay, greens, rice, and people who depend on water sources appropriated by bottled water companies. To that list you can now add pumpkins.
Less water has meant smaller pumpkins for some farmers, and heat waves ripened many potential jack-o’-lanterns earlier than usual this year. NBC News’ coverage indicates that our yellow-orange carving gourds aren’t super resilient:
Most pumpkins are grown on smaller farms. And they don’t go far from the fields. Despite their tough exterior, pumpkins bruise easily and are rarely shipped across state lines. Most are sold locally.
Sounds like those early-ripening crops might end up as canned pie filling.
Also, pumping more groundwater to quench parched pumpkins means higher costs for growers. And we know pricier produce isn’t the only problem caused by slurping more aqua from aquifers.
So parents, you may want a stiff beverage on hand while helping your kids carve jack-o-lanterns from red kuri squash this year. Enjoy the ornamental gourd ale.