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For years, we were loathed. Our first appearance of each year was met with sneers and animosity. We stood for the end of summer, the start of school, the time when people had to go “back to reality,” when their tans started to fade and they had to put away their flip flops.

We were born as pumpkins.

We didn’t ask to be born this way, nor did we do anything to be treated with such disdain. And to add insult to injury, we have to relive these feelings year after year, because as our seeds are replanted, we keep coming back to life. Oh, the horror!

At the dawn of the new millennium, we knew we had to do something. The world was changing fast, and we knew this was our only opportunity to make our big move and win over the hearts of the human race. In January of 2000, we called a special meeting of pumpkins from around the globe, to attack the task at hand.

Together, we set out to change how people felt about pumpkins.

In a brainstorming meeting, we reviewed the facts. By early October, people were ready for pumpkins, ready for Halloween. We were back in the spotlight, glowing orange on the stoop of millions of homes across America. After Halloween, we became a symbol of Thanksgiving. They decorated with us, carved us into jack-o-lanterns, made us into delicious pies that tasted like home. For those two months until the Christmas season rolled in, we were gold.

The problem, we figured out, was the month of September. The reluctant transition from carefree summer to autumn. So how could we leverage this love to make the summer to fall transition smoother? How could we gain more time in the spotlight? What were we missing?

Then it came to us—get into their bellies early. Let them enjoy the comforting pumpkin-y flavor that had been limited to such a short window each year. Make them associate pumpkins with the start of a season full of delicious treats and the warm and fuzzy feelings that come with it!

We targeted the new generation of consumers.

Young, vivacious upstarts whose approach to life was unlike others we had seen in the past. They were all about creating new trends, engaging in the community, and buying local. We studied them and their habits and zeroed in on one thing—coffee. Cafés popped up like daisies and these youngsters were spending hours upon hours frequenting them, bringing their brightly colored MacBooks and listening to poetry and jazz.

Our main goal was to get in with this new coffee crowd. We thought, what about introducing pumpkin muffins, mini pumpkin pies, and pumpkin Danish for people to consume with their coffee? but chain after chain shot us down. We withstood rejection after rejection. No one wanted to be the big risk-taker. No one wanted to bring us in early. After all, it was apple picking season and those little bastards cornered the year-long market long before it was even a thought for us.

Months rolled by and before we knew it, it was Labor Day. Time for the sneers and scoffs and the hatred.

I had lost all hope. By Thanksgiving, I was put by the trash with the rest of November’s bounty and waited to be disposed, only to be reincarnated to this ungodly existence the following year.

A kid kicked me into the street and then, FINALLY, it hit me. Literally, a bus with a seasonal Starbucks ad hit me. If coffee could be eggnog flavored, why not us?!

Upon my rebirth in 2001, I called upon the council once again to pitch my big idea—pumpkin spiced coffee. We spent the next year experimenting with the flavor to find just the right combination. We had only had one chance at this, so we targeted the big dog—Starbucks or bust.

They loved it.

This was really happening. In 2003, we were at the top of the roastery’s list of flavors to perfect and in the fall, our first test scored big in D.C. and Vancouver. We always knew we were special, always believed in ourselves, and now the world finally agreed! Our sales exceeded expectations that year in the test markets and we were in every Starbucks the following fall.

Humans now seek us out in late August, crave us, post about us on every social media account they own. We even exceeded our own expectations! Now, on every shelf in every store, you can find pumpkin spice products. We dominate cakes, pies, cookies, and hot beverages. And thanks to hipsters, there’s an entire line of beers dedicated to pumpkins!

So now as you sip that latte or beer with that little orange guy on the label, remember how long it took us to get here. Treat your pumpkins with respect and make sure those seeds get back in the ground so they can experience the rebirth, because, after all, pumpkin spice makes everything nice!

First coffee, then the world!

Melissa Wyatt

Boasting with Philly pride, I’m a loud-mouthed Italian mama striving to achieve the perfect combination of marketing guru with a hint of Julia Child, Martha Stewart, and Beyonce.

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