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how are pumpkins like diamonds?

Harvey and I picked out a Halloween pumpkin this afternoon. Well, mostly I picked it out while he gazed past me towards the pasture softly repeating "gow, gow, gow..." to himself; if only we'd done this a couple weeks ago before he decided he was pretty much over pumpkins (thanks to their ubiquity, and I don't blame him). Anyways, I spotted one for only $3.00 that was about as big as the general run of $6.00 pumpkins but slightly marred by one flattened, gray-speckled side where it had lain in the field. "How about this one?" I asked him encouragingly. He approved.

Note the advantages of getting your field pumpkin at Chip-in, where they're priced according to looks and priced to sell! Every single field pumpkin at Whole Foods—moderately-sized all—is $9.00. $9.00? No thanks! Wilson Farms in Lexington I believe is somewhere in between: if I recall correctly, their field pumpkins are more expensive the bigger they get, regardless of shape or blemishes. I guess that's just one of the benefits to running a family farm: you get to examine each pumpkin you sell and price it accordingly. Now that's service!

Wilson's, though, has something that even Chip-in doesn't, and that's truly enormous pumpkins. The pricing for those beasts, as described on the website [link target subject to change, sorry], is entirely reasonable: 59¢/lb. Reasonable, that is, until you learn that Atlantic Giants (which are actually bred from Hubbard squashes rather than real American pumpkins) can reach up to 1,810 lbs. Fancy spending $1,067.90 on your jack-o-lantern this year? Not, of course, that Wilson's carries pumpkins anything like that large: the most expensive gourd I noticed there a couple weeks ago was priced at $159, which—if my calculations are correct—means it weighs in at a measly 269 lbs.

And yet, a hundred and a half dollars also seems like a great deal to spend on a pumpkin, especially when you can get one nearly as impressive for somewhere in the neighborhood of $25. Or even $3, right? (we'll post pictures if we make it into a jack-o-lantern). Sure, kids can't pose for pictures on top of the $25 pumpkin, but on the other hand you don't need a chain saw to try and carve it. It's just like diamonds, which similarly increase wildly in price as they get larger. No simple arithmetic increase for luxury goods like pumpkins and engagement rings, no: if you want one that really stands out you're going to have to pay exponentially for the increase. Scientists might tell us that it's simply what happens when you increase the diameter of a solid arithmetically, but I know it's really all about soaking the rich. And I approve. I just hope that, for the pumpkins at least, the deal also includes door-to-door backhoe transport!

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