Forget about intricately etched Halloween pumpkins or chicly painted gourds. This year’s fashion-forward jack-o’-lantern is an albino one.
More and more grocery stores and markets are carrying white varieties of the seasonal squash, which have a smoother skin and give off a ghost-like glow.
Bert Andrews, owner of Andrews’ Scenic Acres in Milton, Ont., has been growing and selling pumpkins for about 30 years. He has been producing a white variety called Lumina as part of his pumpkin crop for the past nine or 10 seasons and has noticed an increasing demand over the past couple years. “I guess because they look sort of ghostly,” he says.
The Lumina pumpkins lack the rimmed appearance of orange pumpkins, but have the same orange insides. Other white varieties include Casper, Full Moon, Snowball and Little Boo.
Ivory pumpkins have even garnered a presidential seal of approval: President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle picked up a Full Moon during a recent trip to a farmers market in Hampton, Va.
Mr. Andrews finds that, compared with the more common orange pumpkins, the Lumina’s seeds do not yield as much product, increasing the cost of growing them. Still, the popularity of the pale pumpkins has him planning to dedicate more acreage to the variety next season.
The Milton farmer doesn’t pass along the increased cost to his customers (all his pumpkins cost 49 cents a pound), but some food retailers do.
At Summerhill Market in Toronto, white pumpkins sell for $15, about $5 more than the orange variety, according to floral manager Sarah McDonald. At Pusateri’s, an upscale grocery-store chain in Toronto, white pumpkins sell for $19.95 while the orange ones go for $9.95. Like Mr. Andrews, Pusateri’s is finding that the milky pumpkins are increasingly popular, even surpassing the orange.
Urban Fare, a chain of high-end grocery stores in Vancouver, also carries both orange and white pumpkins, but keeps the price of both varieties the same. (Urban Fare’s Coal Harbour location has a two-for-$5 special until Saturday.)
The white pumpkins can be carved into jack-o’-lanterns like their orange counterparts and some strains, such as the Casper, can be used for cooking.
Looking for another way to incorporate the white variety this Halloween? Home-decor guru Martha Stewart recommends placing round Lumina pumpkins on the dining table to add “shades of seasonal pallor.”