Sometimes you just have to take a stand – a produce stand.
After two back-to-back zucchini columns, I really thought I was done writing about squash.
I thought wrong.
You see, autumn is my favorite time of year. There’s nothing better than taking a stroll around the neighborhood under a crisp blue sky. Leaves crunch underfoot and trees show their best colors; a riot of russet, red and gold.
Halloween and fall decor comes out with bats, witches, spider webs and jack-o’-lanterns appearing on porches and lawns.
But the past few years I’ve noticed a rather alarming trend – ghostly white pumpkins. At first I thought folks were painting them, but then I saw the pale imitations popping up in grocery stores.
Turns out farmers are growing varieties of albino squash with names like Lumina, Cotton Candy, Full Moon, Polar Bear and miniature Baby Boos. They’re planting them mostly to keep up with decorating demands.
That’s right. Pinterest is ruining pumpkins!
An article on a travel website about the new crops, stated, “Orange is so yesterday.”
Have they even noticed who’s in the White House?
Speaking of, I don’t mean to be divisive, but unlike the Lorax, I didn’t speak for the trees, the Christmas trees, that is, and look what happened.
White flocked trees meant to simulate a dusting of snow, quickly devolved into madness when the new generation of artificial trees arrived. You can now purchase Christmas trees in most any hue; silver, pink, blue and even rainbow.
Taking the green out of holiday trees is an abomination. We might as well jettison Santa’s red velvet suit and put him a tux. While we’re at it, we could color his snowy white hair, trim that fluffy beard and give him a man bun and a soul patch.
Obviously, I’m a holiday purist.
Pumpkins have been orange since the Garden of Eden and I see no reason to adulterate them. Honestly, I find the albino variety ugly. Our landscape is soon going to be buried in white; can’t we enjoy a bright splash of tangerine before winter dulls our vistas?
As expected, when posting a potentially controversial opinion on social media, the haters came out in force. I was called “squashist,” “gourdist” and even “orange supremacist.”
I accept the charge of pumpkin profiling and am not ashamed.
This slope has already proved treacherously slippery. One Facebook friend admitted to owning a pink pumpkin. PINK! For the love of gourd!
My sister told me she’s even seen a teal squash. That’s something you can’t unsee.
It’s enough to put me off my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin bread and my Spicy Pumpkin muffins. Well, almost.
Another friend posted a meme of a field of albino squash captioned, “White pumpkins drained of their spice by illegal poachers. Please demand ethically sourced Pumpkin Spice lattes.”
Someone else replied, “#allpumpkinsmatter.”
I admit that gave me pause, and I briefly considered aborting my “Keep the Orange in Pumpkin” campaign, but I’d already gone to the trouble of creating a #pumpkinpurist hashtag, and feel it could be trending soon. It would be a shame to lose momentum.
When a friend wrote, “I judge a pumpkin by the content of its character,” I had to admire the sentiment. To be fair, if you slice into an albino pumpkin, you’ll find orange flesh, and supposedly these pale imitations have thinner skins, making them easier to carve.
Nevertheless I must persist.
And while I’m at it, pumpkins are fruit, so don’t go saying you got your vegetable servings in for the day, after three slices of pie.
As I wrapped up my research, I read this headline, “There’s no rule that pumpkins have to be orange.”
To that I can only say, well, there should be.
Contact Cindy Hval at email@example.com. She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” You can listen to her podcast “Life, Love and Raising Sons” at SpokaneTalksOnline.com. Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval