Halloween: Less orange, more green

GOSHEN – The Wakarusa Produce Auction was a lot more crowded on Friday and many of the people there were from out of town.

“There’s people coming from father away and different locations now buying pumpkins,” Terry Ramey said. Ramey is in from way out of town, he lives and own three pumpkin patches in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He grows his own pumpkins, but this year he has a lot of big orders coming in from all over the country, so he drove more than 10 hours to Michiana to buy pumpkins... A lot more pumpkins, Ramey said, “Well I got a 53-foot trailer and I plan on loading it, as many as I can anyway.”

There is a pumpkin shortage throughout most of the country, “It’s tough out there,” Ramey said. Hurricane Irene washed away hundreds of pumpkin crops in the Northeast, and now a lot of people in a lot of different places are scrambling to find pumpkins this fall.

Indiana Farmer Dan Peterson said, “Something to do with the hurricane, they said the salt water, I don’t know if it affected the plants or killed the vines or what…?” Peterson said many people have come to the Mid-West in search of pumpkins, and now their supply is down and it’s slim pickings in the pumpkin patches.

“There’s going to be an overall shortage of pumpkins this year,” Peterson said. Ramey agrees, Michiana is running out of pumpkins, and there’s still a month to go until Halloween. “A lot of times this barn would be half full of pumpkins right now, and you can count the bins, there’s just not that many,” Ramey said.

And Ramey took many of the bins at the auction with him, he spent nearly ten-thousand-dollars on Michiana pumpkins to haul off and spread around the country.

Ramey said he wanted to get the goods before the prices go up even more, “As the volume goes down, the price is going to go up,” Ramey said. “As soon as they clean the fields, you know the shortage is going to force them up.” Both buyers and sellers at the auction expect prices to increase 20-30 percent, maybe even 50-percent by the time Halloween arrives.

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