Pumpkin-flavored everything — from beer to ravioli — is everywhere once again. And for most of those gourdy goods, the supply chain starts here in Illinois.
The state grows more than 90 percent of pumpkins used for canning. And 8 out of every 10 cans sold across the globe is produced at Nestle Libby's in Morton.
Here's what every Illinoisan should know about their fall cash crop:
1. The Prairie States’ pumpkin industry is worth about $200 million.
2. Morton, just outside Peoria, calls itself "The Pumpkin Capital of the World" and for good reason: It produces enough enough pumpkins to make 50 million pies.
3. Illinois grows about 25,000 acres of pumpkins; and one acre can produce between 20 to 23 tons of pumpkin.
4. Beta-carotene is a great way to get vitamin A and pumpkins, most often bright orange, are chock full of it.
5. Illinois’ soil, thick and full of clay, retains water and is perfect for growing gourds.