One town has its hand in 1000s of pumpkin pies

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MORTON, Ill. (AP) — Each year between August and early November, Steve Beuttel eats a lot of pumpkin pie. He calls it quality control.

Beuttel is the operations manager for the Libby's pumpkin cannery in Morton, Illinois, which makes more than 80 percent of all canned pumpkin eaten in the United States.

The pumpkins that Nestle USA-owned Libby's uses are grown on a few thousand acres around the small central Illinois town.

The cool summer meant a good year for the pumpkin crop. But a bad year can mean pumpkin panic, which happened in 2009 when wet weather cut the harvest.

The cannery provides about 150 seasonal jobs and 50 year-round jobs to the area.

Libby's doesn't use the typical jack-o-lantern pumpkin variety, but one that's beige, oblong and grows on its side.