According to a piece in today’s L.A. Times, canned pumpkin, the base ingredient in many delectable Thanksgiving holiday treats, is in short supply. Per the article:
“On Tuesday, food giant Nestle, which controls about 85% of the pumpkin crop for canning, issued a rare apology and said that rain appeared to have destroyed what remained of a small harvest this year and that it expected to stop shipping the holiday staple by Thanksgiving. Supermarkets say supplies are tight, depending on the store.”
Nestle manufactures the Libby brand of pumpkin products.
As such, this is not only a good time to buy the supplies you need for your own pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin loaf, and pumpkin chili (seriously; just go off-recipe when seasoning, maybe add red beans). This represents a rare opportunity to do something those sharks on Wall Street attempt to do daily: buy low, sell high.
Think about it: you know when a cook’s ruined the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, he or she will run all over town looking for a suitable replacement, regardless of cost. When procrastinating shoppers are looking for ingredients to make their cherished pumpkin pie, only to find no canned pumpkin available, what do you think they will do? Announce to guests, “Sorry everybody, we’re having pecan pie this year?” Hell no! They’ll be in full-on scramble mode, first looking for other ways to get canned pumpkin, and eventually just buying a pumpkin pie. Why should only bakeries benefit from a squash recession?
Strategy: go to the store today. TODAY.
Trader Joe’s, Ralphs, Piggly-Wiggly, whatever; buy as much product as you can get your hands on. Then every day next week, camp out in the canned goods section of a different store, one you don’t frequent, just to save face the rest of the year. When you see a distraught shopper that’s turning this way and that in a panic, you’ve got your mark.
Just coyly let on that you know where he or she can get some canned pumpkin . . . for a price. 200% markup seems reasonable, so ask for 500%.
Watch the money roll in. Hey everyone, we’ll have Christmas Gifts this year! Flawless strategy.
For those kindhearted few of you that would rather solve the problem than make money off of it, Nestle’s recipe Web site addresses the pumpkin shortage by offering alternative holiday recipes here. Still, “Holiday-Spiced Baked Custard” doesn’t have the same ring as “Pumpkin Pie.” For Pete’s sake, it’s not even alliterative.
Oh, and we suppose there’s always the traditional way to go . . . like making a pie using a fresh pumpkin. But why would you go and deprive we schemers of our pending pumpkin fortunes?