British expatriate Chris Ayers is trying to understand our pumpkin fetish.
There is really no way to understate the enthusiasm of Americans for pumpkins. They harvest an astonishing 100 million of the things every year. That's some 700,000 tonnes of orange gunk - most of which is converted into the kind of pie filling that everyone likes the idea of, but no one really seems to want to eat. For years I have been baffled by this annual insanity. Which is why at the weekend I decided to visit a “pumpkin patch”.
It was quite a scene.
They had pig races, a “petting zoo” of tame farm animals, tractor rides, a corn maze, live music and a squad of cheerleaders. And of course they had a field lined from end to end with pumpkins - like the droppings of some giant extraterrestrial bunny rabbit - and a stand selling the aforementioned pumpkin pie.
The result? Enlightenment.
All I can say is that as I watched my son run through a field of giant, almost luminous orange globes - his arms outstretched, a look of complete awe on his face - everything seemed right with the world.