Pumpkin Pie and Thanksgiving

Where Did Your Pie Pumpkin Come From?

Pumpkin pie is requisite for the complete Thanksgiving meal, is it not? Many people clearly think so; the demand for canned pie pumpkin, especially around this time of year, is huge. Where exactly is all of this pumpkin coming from? Apparently, there’s a very good chance that if you used canned pumpkin for your pie this year, you can trace your pumpkin to farms in central Illinois. And ultimately, to Morton, Illinois, home to the Libby’s brand (owned by Nestlé) pumpkin canning factory; if you’ve been to a grocery store this time of year, it’s nearly impossible not to see Libby’s brand canned pumpkin on the aisle end caps, or in the baking section. Only a few miles from Morton, Seneca Foods processes pumpkin for grocery store private labels. According to the USDA, Illinois harvested about 16,000 acres of pumpkins in 2012, more than twice that of the second largest producer, Ohio. About 5,000 acres in central Illinois are devoted just to growing pumpkins for Libby’s. The pumpkins Libby’s desires for canning look nothing like a jack o’ lantern pumpkin. Rather, they resemble a butternut squash, with cream colored skin and deep orange flesh. Learn more about your pie pumpkin from Peter Gray; he published a story recently about this subject for Harvest Public Media.

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