KIRO NIGHTS

Skorheim: Sorry, these pumpkins cost how much?

Oct 4, 2023, 2:20 PM | Updated: 3:10 pm

pumpkins...

Huge pumpkins are displayed at a botanical exhibition area. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

I read a story Tuesday about orange juice futures (Exciting reading, huh?) and how the price of a quart of the beverage has nearly tripled because of inflation, according to Yahoo Finance. The price is also a result of the hurricane season in Florida, which toppled the industry this year. At their high, the orange growers produce something close to 244 million boxes of oranges. This year, it was just 16 million.

I can at least wrap my head around why the cost of oranges has skyrocketed, but we don’t get too many hurricanes here in Washington. So, what is going on with the price of pumpkins?!

More on inflation in the state: Washington fears grocery merger monopoly as inflation worsens

Last weekend, my wife and I took our boys to meet up with some friends at a local pumpkin patch. If it’s October and you have kids, you probably already know where I’m going with this. It is nearly illegal to not visit one of these “farms” at some point, especially when the leaves are so pretty. We get there and, of course, it’s perfectly picturesque. In fact, I’m almost positive the whole layout was curated as a backdrop for social media snaps. And I’m not complaining about that. I get it. We all like to have pictures of the kids doing cute stuff.

What I am complaining about is the price associated with these lifetime memories. Avoiding to name names, one very popular farm near my neck of the woods has an entry fee (pumpkin patches didn’t have entry fees when I was a kid) of $26.95 plus taxes and fees just to get through the barn doors. For that insane price, you get to wander around aimlessly in a corn field plowed into a maze, stand in line for a hay ride and take all the pictures you want. What do you not get with that entry fee? A pumpkin!

From the archives: See the Dori Monson Show Pumpkin Carving Contest entries

Now I know every patch doesn’t have an entry fee, thank the Lord. The one we visited didn’t, which is why we went there. But we still had to fork over 45 bucks for the five of us to go in the corn maze and when we finally got to the pumpkins, I literally did a double take as I tried to decipher the sign explaining how much each pumpkin would cost, according to size — and kids never want small pumpkins.

Were these pumpkins made of gold? Were these gourds stuffed with cash? No, and I’ll tell you something. It really sucks the joy out of the experience when you have to consider taking out a second mortgage just to pay for a few pumpkins.

Since 2018, the average price of pumpkins during Halloween in the U.S. have increased by almost 40%, reaching approximately $5.40 per pumpkin in 2022, according to Statista. The price jumped 12% over the last 12 months.

According to Finder.com, Americans spent $804 million on pumpkins in 2022.

I almost gave in and bought the glorified squash. But, fortunately, sanity prevailed. I made my kids a deal. If they agreed to bypass the patch, I’d buy them each two at Fred Meyer. I wasn’t sure they’d go for it, but I could see the wheels in their greedy little minds turning and the deal was just too good. Two is better than one.

More from Jake Skorheim: Yes, Seattle is crazy

Happily, they agreed and we went on our way. So in the end, we left the patch without any pumpkins, but we did get a few nice photos. I can’t wait for next weekend: We’ve been invited to another patch. So, we’ll probably be going again.

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7-10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the KIRO Nights with Jake Skorheim podcast here, on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

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Skorheim: Sorry, these pumpkins cost how much?