The Great Pumpkin Crisis of 2009: Bad for Libby's, good for organic growers

By the time you read this, disaster may have already struck. You're either looking forward to a Thanksgiving meal with the warm, reassuring taste of pumpkin pie -- or staring down the barrel of a substitute sweet potato pie while trying to pretend that everything is hunky-dory. Either way, any warnings I can offer will surely be too late.

As the history books will one day note, the Great Pumpkin Crisis of 2009 began back in August, when heavy rains in Morton, Illinois, left the fields boggy and wet, delaying the harvest. Morton, also known as "Pumpkin Capital of the United States," soon found itself with field after field of moldy, rotten orange gourds that were useless for cooking and canning. This was hardly an isolated problem: Morton supplies Nestle with its pumpkins and Nestle (NSRGY), through its Libby's subsidiary, supplies the country with 85% of its canned pumpkin. Thus, as goes Morton, so goes Thanksgiving.