I, like many, many other individuals out there, adore the seasonal pilgrimage to local farms and country lanes on the pursuit of locally grown produce.
I guarantee that through the entire month of October you were all informed on all platforms of social media that your friends, family, and that one weird girl from high school you still follow cause it makes you feel better about your life, have made the trip to a pumpkin patch. These photos and status updates will include, to some degree, a photo of themselves in a reasonably fall outfit (while it is still 78 degrees), a slightly disgruntled and bored looking partner, and one or two images of the produce. See below for examples.
Now. You, like many before you, may be wondering what exactly the, “big deal” is with these goddamn squashes. It’s not like anybody on earth wants pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread in July. It’s literally just the months of September-November. So. What’s the deal with these gourds.
I have a two fold theory.
- I blame LLBean. It all begins with marketing. Imagine- you’re back in elementary school. It’s the end of August. School is going to start soon. What’s this in the mail? A catalog for LLBean? Sashaying their wares in front of your eyes? What’s this? A well priced and long lasting back pack and lunchbox? Warm winter jackets? But most importantly, images of happy families doing outdoors activities including hiking, pumpkin carving, bonfires and overall smiling? Oh, that makes sense. School = LLBean = new backpacks = fall = leaves = pumpkins = family activities and overall sense of seasonal contentment. Remember, you’re still imagining you’re a kid at this point so stay with me. So you get this new backpack and maybe you’ve got a new fall jacket for school. You look just like the kid in the catalog! That’s so wild! Your mom is starting to pull out the fall decorations, and your house is filled with the smells of various baked goods, and the banister on the stairs is covered in this multi-colored leaf garland. Dad starts spending more time outside in his beanie doing lawn things you don’t particularly care about. Things are going swell, you’ve got that freshly-cleaned school and new pencil smell in your nostrils and you’re off to do that learnin’. (Stay in school, kids.) Awesome. Next thing you know you’re off to the scholastic book fair, and what’s this? A fall festival? Best thing ever! You get to bring home a volunteer slip to mom, who whips up some rice crispy treats and some leaf garland to bring to the festival. You skip into class and show your teacher, who smiles and tells you to tell your mom, “Thank you.” Karen’s mom brought plastic forks. Nobody likes Karen’s mom. Right, so you skip off to the fall festival. It’s everything you could hope it could be. There’s candy and games, and there is even a pumpkin carving contest! You won! Golly! You grow up a little bit, and the fall festivals morph into more Halloween-centric activities. You hang out with both your family and friends, but in separate doses. Your mom still likes doing more crafty-baking things, and frankly you like eating so you’re on board. Your friends and you like to do things solo, but you’re like 12 so your parents are skeptical but allow you to run free at the local orchard and pumpkin patch to go do whatever it is that you do. As you get older things change but also fundamentally remain the same in regards to this transitional season. The trip to the pumpkin patch becomes less of a family outing so you can win the pumpkin carving contest again, and more of a trip that you and your friends pretend is for the nostalgia. Ie, you’re in college and, “Omg, remember when we went to the pumpkin patch as kids? Like, we should go again just because. Lol.” And you go. You and your friends go to the pumpkin patch and pretend you’re in the 5th grade again, and you pick out the ugliest gourds you can find and go home and carve them on the back porch with cider and boxed wine somebody had in the back of their pantry. This continues every year. Then, next thing you know, you’re in your twenties. You haven’t done a lot in terms of decorating this year- work has been wild and you literally don’t remember what you’ve done for the past two months. You pull on a jacket, go out to get the mail, and what’s this? No, literally what’s this you never signed up for catalogs. After the initial shock of getting junk mail, you look again.
It’s an LLBean catalog.
You flip it open.
- The novelization of pumpkins keeps their industry alive. Nobody wants a winter squash in July. It’s gotta be a government conspiracy to make sure that the farmers get subsidized.