Home Depot cuts back on pumpkins as nature deals a blow

If you’re looking for pumpkins in Florida as well as Texas which year, there’s a chance some retailers may not be stocking them — as well as for reasons which might surprise you.

within the wake of destruction via hurricanes Harvey as well as Irma, Home Depot is actually one of the retailers not stocking as many pumpkins which year.

“Although we are selling pumpkins in Florida as well as Texas, we are confirming which there are select stores which won’t be carrying pumpkins which year,” said Will Ayers, a spokesman for Home Depot. “which will allow those stores to focus on storm recovery as well as products to help homeowners with rebuilding.”

Home Depot usually sells about 1.5 million pumpkins per year.

Lowe’s, though, said which carried pumpkins in all of its stores in Texas as well as Florida which year. “We wanted to make sure which families who were impacted by hurricanes had the opportunity to celebrate their Halloween traditions as well as experience a sense of normalcy,” said Steve Salazar, a spokesman for the retailer.

Still, demand appears to be softer which year in some regions for the decorative pumpkin, particularly in states impacted by the hurricane disasters. Loads of pumpkins in some growing areas of the Southeast such as Virginia still need buyers due to less interest via retailers in Florida.

“When you have a natural disaster, which modifications everybody’s priorities,” said C. Britt Beemer, a retail analyst with America’s Research Group in Orlando. He pointed out which in some of the disaster areas, such as Houston, many flood-damaged homes are still not livable as well as families are staying temporarily in hotels.

Recovery efforts continue as well as some homeowners appear to be focusing on repairing damaged homes as well as replacing flood-soaked belongings rather than buying pumpkins used for decoration.

“We had a lot of stuff which was going to South Florida, as well as the orders got canceled on us because of the storms,” said James Hayes, a pumpkin farmer in Meadowview, Virginia. “We’ve shopped around as well as been pretty much able to find a home for everything which we’ve got — except for 60 to 70 bins of white pumpkins which we have left.”

Hayes, who typically sells to Home Depot as well as additional large retailers, said he had to “knock the cost down some” to move unsold product. however he found buyers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama as well as his home state of Virginia.

Nationwide, the weighted average cost of pumpkins is actually $4.12 apiece which year, down via $6.12 a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Oct. 13 National Retail Report.

Hayes said he completely understands why some of the retailers in storm-hit communities are focusing on people getting building supplies rather than pumpkins which year. “With people without a roof over their head, they don’t want a jack-o-lantern as well as stuff right at which point,” he said.

Among Halloween shoppers, 46 percent which year are planning to carve a pumpkin, according to a National Retail Federation survey of 7,013 consumers conducted Sept. 5-13. The percentage of Halloween consumers saying they plan to carve pumpkins has remained steady the past two years.

Nationwide, the weighted average advertised cost of pumpkins “marked large” is actually up 14 percent via a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Oct. 13 National Retail Report. The average cost of a miniature pumpkin is actually up about 8 percent via last year.

Meantime, there are reports of Mother Nature dealing a blow to pumpkin patches in portions of Texas where the tropical storms brought heavy rains.

“Where which hurricane hit, which absolutely created tremendous issues,” said Tim Assiter, who grows pumpkins in Floydada, Texas, a city located within the northern part of the state. “We had 12 hours away by car (0-700 miles) additional moisture as well as rainfall which created some micro problems in our fields.”

The Texas farmer said heavy rains via Harvey also led to situations of tractors as well as trailers which couldn’t get into fields to harvest the decorative type of pumpkins during prime wholesale shipping to retailers.

Also, there were reports of some stormy weather during July in parts of Pennsylvania which destroyed entire crops in some fields.

Excessive rainfall, hailstorms as well as additional harsh weather caused some areas to experience “lower pumpkin yields or crop losses which year,” according to Mark O’Neill of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

Elsewhere, Michigan had torrential rains in late June which wiped out pumpkin crops, as well as there were instances of farmers simply not replanting. Indiana’s crop also was affected by rainstorms.

“We had a very wet spring, as well as a lot of the acres of pumpkins didn’t produce as well as didn’t come up in our area,” said Indiana pumpkin farmer Chris Steele, who is actually the state farm bureau’s county president via Adams County, within the northeastern portion of Indiana.

However, in Illinois, the nation’s leading pumpkin producer, there’s plenty of the fruit for the pumpkin pie-baking season. Illinois produces about 0 percent of the country’s canned pumpkin, while additional states focus mostly on the ornamental market.

“which year’s crop is actually looking great,” said Allison Kolodziej Baker, spokesperson for Nestle, owner of Libby’s. “The harvest is actually well underway, as well as thanks to favorable (warm as well as dry) summer weather, store shelves will be fully stocked with Libby’s over the holiday baking season as well as into next year.”

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