Those wanting to kick off the holidays early with a slice of homemade pumpkin pie have found it hard to satisfy their appetite in recent weeks.
Shelves usually stocked full of pumpkin filling are empty in stores in Lincoln and across the country.
"We're in a window of time between pumpkin pie filling from last year's harvest and the time when this year's harvest will be in and canned," said Ruth Comer, assistant vice president of media relations for Hy-Vee stores.
Bad growing weather led to fewer pumpkins being harvested last year and less stock being carried through this year, she said.
In addition, this year's crop was harvested later than usual, she said.
Pumpkin growers from Michigan and Illinois supply Hy-Vee's brand of pumpkin filling. This year's crop, Comer said, is now being processed and canned and should be sent to stores soon.
"We expect to have Hy-Vee pumpkin pie filling within the next week to three weeks," she said. "We should have pumpkin pie filling on the shelves in plenty of time for the holidays."
That's good news for John Diaz, store manager at Heartland Pantry, a smaller Hy-Vee store at 48th Street and Leighton Avenue.
He said few people have asked about the store's lack of pumpkin filling, though he expects that would change should the shortage extend beyond October.
He said this year's pumpkin crop looks good.
"It'll still be a little iffy to see how it goes, but they are still expecting a better than average harvest," he said.
Near Lincoln, pumpkin patch owner Beverly Schaefer said this year's crop is similar to last year's in terms of quantity but individual pumpkins are smaller.
The owner of Roca Berry Farm said cool weather in June and dry weather in July likely stunted this year's crop.
"They were probably a little more stressed than usual," she said.
Still, "I think we've got a really good crop."
Reach Kevin Abourezk at 473-7225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.