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      Limited pumpkin supply- get to pickin' now!

      Thanks to the drought the Panhandle has seen this year, pumpkins are in limited supply.

      Markeeta Howard and her husband harvest pumpkins in Clarendon and supply three pumpkin patches, one at Coulter Gardens, one at 43rd and Western and one in Clarendon. Howard said not only the drought hurt their crops; so did the hot winds that came before.

      "Normally, we have 16 Walmarts that we supply with pumpkins," she said. "We had to back out on them, unfortunately, this year, as well as other people from everywhere in Texas and Oklahoma that buy product from us and take it elsewhere."

      In the past, the Howards could bring in more pumpkins if their lots began to run low.

      "Normally, we're able to bring all of our pumpkins in from Clarendon, and then towards the end, if we run low, then we can always go and sub in with pumpkins from other places."

      The Howards crop was cut by 50 percent and they have been forced to pay higher prices for hay they usually grow and bale themselves. That, in turn, affects consumers who want to buy their crops.

      "In some aspects, we have to pass that down to the consumer," said Howard. "We don't want to do that and we know they don't want to pay that extra, either. But we also want to offer you the product."

      The pumpkins have not grown to be as big as they usually do, but the Howards' lots do have pumpkins large enough for jack-o-lanterns.

      Howard strongly recommends consumers get to pickin' while the pickin' is good. She said it is likely the pumpkins will not be there until Halloween.