Mason jars skyrocket in price as COVID-19 creates shortages

Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 at 3:20 PM EDT
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RODMAN, N.Y. (WWNY) - In July, it was coins. August, lumber. Now, the newest shortage added to the list is Mason jars.

In this country kitchen in the town of Rodman, jams and jellies are jarred by the dozen.

However, being able to package them in those country-style Mason jars has become an issue.

Robin Hannon runs her own business called Timmy Crack Corn. More and more frequently, she’s had to make trips to her supplier in Lowville to pick up more jars.

“I got back there on Wednesday, two days later, they were gone,” she said. “So, I went, ‘I will just go over to Walmart and get some’ -- gone. So I went online – nowhere, you couldn’t get them anywhere.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, more people started cooking and baking from home. This led many people to go out and buy Mason jars to start canning their own food.

Cathy Moore at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County says they receive calls about canning all the time. However, this year, the calls are more frequent.

“You can do more than just preserve food,” Moore said. “You can make some nice gifts, you know, you can make jams and jellies. You might not have had the time to do all that stuff, fun stuff, when you are working full time.”

As you’d imagine, with high demand and short supply, prices are sky rocketing.

“Some of them are as much as $70 for one 12-pack of jars and they should be between $10 and $12 dollars,” Hannon said, “so we can’t sell them at that, you know, you just can’t make money doing that.”

It’s not only for jars. Even single-use lids are going for outrageous prices.

“With the shortage, they have gone up to like 75 cents apiece,” Moore said, “which makes canning expensive and defeats the whole purpose of trying to save money.”

Moore says hunting season could also be playing a factor as people prepare to sell new products.

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