In-Depth: Area farms seem to have enough to go around despite national pumpkin shortage

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FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) — With autumn closing in and Halloween approaching, local families celebrated the return of the customary trip to the pumpkin farm as the scares focused more on ghosts and goblins and less on coronavirus.

"It’s good to be back. For sure,” declared Kevin Reilly of Fairport who joined his kids and his grandkids for a traditional annual visit to Powers Farm Market in Pittsford.

It’s a tradition they regretfully skipped last year because of the pandemic.

"No, you wouldn’t come to something like this because of the masks and all the restrictions,” he sighed. “And now that we’re fully vaccinated, we feel a lot more comfortable. The family is all together and that’s really important for us to be part of the Halloween experience."

At the attraction, even an evening in the middle of the week brought out busy traffic right up to closing time as this rite of autumn and Halloween comes back for families who’ve been playing it safe but now want to celebrate the season, the pumpkins, the petting zoo.

"The tractor ride. And the food,” exclaimed Henry Bacon of Rochester who came with his dad. “I like it here!”

Powers Farm Market Manager Dan Skelton says last October the business enjoyed respectable business even during a tough pandemic period as families sought out activities that were largely outdoors.

This time, he gratefully reported that the market has largely avoided the staffing crunch that has hamstrung other businesses, primarily because it brings on high school students for this heavy season, after a previous year of heavy coronavirus precautions.

"Last year, the petting zoo, we had to fence it off so people couldn’t touch the animals,” he said. "So hopefully we won’t have all that this year. We’ll see how it goes.”

The market still offers hand sanitizer and there is some social distancing signage in the store but Skelton says the biggest issue this time around is the weather, which he hopes will give everyone a break.

“Last year we came but they were much less people,” said customer Jessica White. “We are wearing masks and it’s just a better experience this year.”

“This year we are trying to get out more, just go with friends, hang out more still being cautious,” said Brian Bacon. “A very different feel. A lot more fun.”

Skelton says one of Powers Farms’ biggest weapons against COVID was some very nice weather last October and he’s hoping it’ll improve from the damp we’ve been seeing recently this year.

Though, a pumpkin shortage is creeping across the country just weeks before Halloween due to the supply chain and shipping crisis.

Fewer pumpkins will mean higher prices.

News10NBC spoke to the manager of Wickham Farms, Dale Wickham, about how the crops are around here.

"Overall a really good pumpkin crop this year," Wickham said. "We battled through a little bit of a wet stretch during the late summer. It was very hot, very rainy which sometimes can lead to a little bit of disease a little bit of rot."

Halloween stores are also being haunted by shipping issues.

So you might want to watch out if you’re looking for costumes or decorations.