Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin from China? Why?

Could someone please explain to me why the U.S imports canned pumpkin from China?

Image Credit: Wikipedia

In my opinion, pumpkins are almost as American as apple pie. Isn't it a crop native to the New World? As schoolchildren, weren't we taught the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, Mass., ate pumpkin at the first American Thanksgiving in 1621? Didn't the Native Americans teach them ho to grow it?

Image Credit: Wikipedia

With 1.5 billion pounds (680,000,000 kilograms) of pumpkins  produced each year in the U.S. (source: Wikipedia), wouldn't you think we have enough so we don't have to import it?

When I reached for a can of pumpkin in the pantry this morning for the purpose of making pumpkin cookies, I read on the Polar brand label “Made in China.”

Let me add that I bought it, and several more cans, at a discount store for a very reasonable price. I've always previously stuck with the Libby brand because, well, it’s available where I shop for food. Libby’s is definitely made in the U.S.

couldn't discern any difference in the appearance of the Polar brand compared to the Libby brand, and I have now eaten a cookie (make that three but who's counting?) and it tastes the same. 

But I won't be buying more more pumpkin grown and canned in China. Why? Talk about a long carbon footprint! Shipping costs do apply when measuring the carbon footprint, don't they? 

I go to some trouble in trying to buy and eat locally grown food. And eating food from China just doesn't cut it! I actually buy fresh pumpkins during their season for cooking, and have it on hand, but I didn't want to take the time to prepare it this morning.

So why do we import canned pumpkin from China? Politics? Economics?  Probably either or both.

What about you? Have you ever bought food items made in China? Do you feel OK about it, or do you avoid it for various reasons of your own?


  1. It is interesting, isn't it, what ends up being imported. We have the same issue here with pineapples, oranges, bananas - we grow plenty and there is no need to import them, ever! As for canned pumpkin we don't see it in regular supermarkets although it can be found in specialist shops. Fresh pumpkin (a green skin variety) is cheap and readily available and I always cook my own first before adding to a recipe. This year for the first time I have seen the orange Halloween pumpkins for sale locally.

    1. I suppose it's a problem everywhere then. I wish we knew why. Too bad you have to go to specialty stores for canned pumpkin. I love pumpkin! Made Pumpkin Cookies yesterday (first time) and they are so good!

  2. I can't explain it at all. Just one of the grocery store mysteries (and there seem to be many). It is amazing to sit down and figure out where a meal came from if you read all the labels. Even that is hard because often the label says "packed in..." or gives the name and address of distributor but doesn't actually say where the product was grown.

    Sadly, the only thing I trust these days is our own garden and there is a limit to how much and what variety we can manage there.


  3. I guess I have never read the labels on canned items that close but I will from on. Just never dreamed pumpkin - of all things - would be coming from China.

  4. Can you believe we import pumpkin from China? Absolutely un American!


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