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The Great (Big) Pumpkin

The Great Pumpkin Farm The Great Pumpkin Farm (Photo: The Great Pumpkin Farm/The Great Pumpkin Farm)
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What pumpkin shortage? Despite reports that pumpkin crops used for canned pumpkin are down by half this year due to crop damage from record summer rains in the Midwest, folks over in Clarence, New York seem to have no shortage of outsize specimens. The Great Pumpkin Farm's 20th Annual World Pumpkin Weight-off on October 4 drew pumpkin growers from all over the state.

Related: 3 Healthy Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin This Fall

The winning squash weighed 1,781.5 pounds — shy of the world record of over 2,000 pounds. This is the second year in a row that local resident Karl Haist took first place.

Related: Carve Pumpkins — Not Your Hands — This Halloween

Now, about that pumpkin shortage. Will it affect your Thanksgiving? Libby's, one of the largest suppliers of canned pumpkin — some 80 percent of the U.S.'s canned pumpkin comes from one LIbby's cannery in Morton, Illinois — says the dwindling supply of canned pumpkin will make it until Thanksgiving, so your pies are safe. After that, the shortage will remain until next year's harvest. The company experienced another shortage back in 2009 after heavy rains fell on the Midwest crops and farmers were unable to harvest their crops.

The shortage won't affect Halloween either. If you're planning to carve a pumpkin this holiday, there will be plenty to choose from. Canned pumpkin comes from sugar pumpkin, a dense, pale, oval-shaped squash, whereas the ones we turn into jack-o'-lanterns are rounder with thinner walls and hollow insides. Remember, don't let your kids carve pumpkins — have them draw on them instead. Even adults can cut their hands in the carving process, so use care.