Shortages hit New Mexico pinon candy supply
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – First, it was our beloved green chile crop suffering from lack of rain, and lack of workers. Now, it appears pinon is not very far behind.
“People want it and I have to tell them ‘I’m sorry that piece you love, I haven’t been able to make it,’” said Tyler Buffett, the operations manager for Buffett’s Candies.
He says he took trips to northern New Mexico trading posts with his dad for pinon when he was a kid.
“At that time I don’t remember paying more than maybe two or three bucks a pound,” he said. “We bought like 20 or 30,000 pounds. I mean completely filled our truck, put it in our freezers and that’s what we would go through over the course of the next five or six years.”
Chances are, trips like that won’t ever happen again. Wildfires over the past few years and decades of bark beetle attacks on pinon trees have taken out a lot of the supply.
Buffett says labor is also playing a role.
“The trees, they could produce, but if nobody goes and gets it, then there’s still not going to be any pinon candy,” said Buffett. “We’re going to feel it as a business when we stop selling it.”
Buffett’s is working on opening a second location on Academy near San Mateo in NE Albuquerque. They hope to open in the fall.