“The Pumpking” is what his parents called this enterprising guy, their son, because he arrives on their lawn at dawn and dismounts his ATV to inspect his 6,000 loyal subjects: pumpkins, arranged in tidy rows, like a royal court, a crowd of orange faces. Consider that Ben, in his mid-30s, can say that he’s been sovereign, the reigning monarch of squash in his quadrant of northeastern Vermont, for more than a quarter-century, growing his business since the ripe old age of 6. Now he lives adjacent to his parents and grows 20 pumpkinds, ranging from the diminutive fists of ‘Jack Be Little’ to the chunky orbs of ‘Howden’ to a hassock-size cucurbit called ‘Dill’s Atlantic Giant’. There must be enough raw jack-o’-lantern material here to gratify every kid in a 30-mile vicinity. I am a mere kindergartener when it comes to this business, selling just a few dozen of one variety—‘New England Pie’—from my 5-year-old roadside shanty. Yet Ben and I have at least one thing in common, which is that we refuse to outgrow our love for the round, orange vegetables of Halloween. Nor do we fear leftover inventory—it’ll just mean a preponderance of pumpkin pie for the great banquet at Thanksgiving.