COLLEGE STATION — Though good weather patterns signal a great pumpkin crop this year, an economist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service advised consumers to get to the store early for the best jack-o-lanterns.
“If you want the best ones, you need to get there early when you see pumpkins coming in to the supermarkets,” said Dr. Richard Edwards, Extension economist. Edwards predicted that jack-o-lantern- size pumpkins will cost between 20 and 30 cents per pound.
If buying early, remember to store pumpkins in a cool, dry place until they are ready to be carved, Edwards added.
Miniature, decorative pumpkins are always a hit through Thanksgiving, and consumers can expect to pay between 69 and 79 cents apiece for the small squash.
Whether they’re baking a pie or making a pot of soup, chefs across the state should pay between 49 and 59 cents a pound for cooking pumpkins, Edwards said.
“If you’re going to cook, the smaller ones tend to be better, but probably less than 1 percent of all the pumpkins that are sold in retail end up being consumed,” he said.
Pumpkins aren’t the only produce items available, though selection of fresh fruits and vegetables is dwindling. Edwards did say that apples, pears, brussels sprouts and cauliflower would be plentiful this time of year.
“The pears are certainly starting to come into the market now. Yams, the apples out of Washington and Oregon probably will come out at the end of September and early October.”
Edwards said shoppers should expect pricing patterns on apples. The smaller varieties will be on sale with 3-5 pound bags for about 59-69 cents a pound.
“In late September, early October we’ll start seeing the bigger ones, the ones everybody is most familiar with. And they’re usually going to be in that 79 cents per apple range.”
Pears should be going on special in late September and shoppers should expect to pay in the 69-79 cents/pound range, Edwards said.
Edwards said consumers should still see lots of specials on high- quality cuts of beef and pork in the meat markets.
“It looks like grain prices are going to stay relatively stable, and that is one factor that influences the retail price of meat,” he said.