An Excerpt From My Graduate School Thesis, “There’s No Such Thing As A Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

(From Page 12, Paragraphs 2 through 4)

“Southern hemisphere countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile all have substantial pumpkin crops that are exported to the United States for Halloween, but surprisingly none of these crops (on average) are great. Most pumpkins from the geographical region are under-sized, shriveled at times, and come with seeds inside that are not worthy of cooking on a baker’s sheet to create the great American snack of toasted pumpkin seeds. But ask foreign ambassadors of agriculture from the regions if they think their pumpkin exports are “great” and you’ll get a response that neither answers the question or officially claims any greatness whatsoever. It’s no wonder, then, that the United States is faced with a problem of pumpkin greatness that Charles Schultz plunged us into in 1966 upon the premiere of his unrealstic representation of pumpkin picking — “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Then what of the agriculture situation here in the United States? With global warming becoming worse with each progressing decade, the pumpkin patches in the Northern hemisphere have dwindled over the years. A 1999 research grant gave the Ministry of Agriculture the funds to see just how fast such residential pumpkin patches were in a decline and the results confirmed just that. Since 1999, the relative amount of pumpkin patches in residential areas (on corners, in vacant lots, outside commercial real estate) has declined alongside the amount of “great” pumpkins being produced in agriculture regions of the United States. That is, each year the United States has to rely on outside suppliers (i.e. other countries) for their pumpkins in an attempt to convince the American public that there are still “great” pumpkins to be had. Sadly, the reality is that the chance of buying a great pumpkin in 2003 is more fairy tale than reality.

A recent agricultural symposium held in Boise, ID and attended by the world’s most significant experts on the subject of “great pumpkins” tackled the question: ‘Will the U.S. see any more great pumpkins in the next decade?’ The answer was addressed by U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Agriculture Specialist, Frank L. Selders who said, ‘It’s no longer a question of IF there’s any more great pumpkins being grown — it’s a question of where will we find them. The Border Protection staff continues to monitor plants and vegetables coming over the Mexico/U.S. border but in two years of increased security check-points we have only come in contact with shrimpy pumpkins, deformed pumpkins and the kind that smell like cheese. Sadly, a decade from now we will not be wondering if there are any great pumpkins but rather where they have all gone.'”