I was out for my usual jog down to Coopers Beach a couple weeks ago, when I noticed them. Giant marshmallows were growing on a beautiful green field in Southampton’s estate section.
Not possible, you say? Marshmallows don’t grow on farms? Well, according to Wikipedia, “Marshmallows probably came first into being as a medicinal substance, since the mucilaginous extracts come from the root of the marshmallow plant, Althaea officinalis, which were used as a remedy for sore throats.” So, there you have it. Marshmallows are plants—and someone is out there planting and growing big ones in the Hamptons!
And it’s not just here. I was driving to my house in New Jersey last week, and lo and behold, stacked up on a farm along the road were bunches of marshmallows, apparently ready for shipping to their final destination (see photo below). I also noticed them last fall in Southampton and thought nothing of it at the time, but I’ve since formed a theory as to why, all of a sudden, the giant marshmallows are appearing on various farms elsewhere, too.
These events occurring at the same time as my now frequent marshmallow sightings cannot be purely coincidental:
1. The 1984 film Ghostbusters was re-released in late August to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of its release. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was reincarnated in all his glory on the big screen at the end of the film. So, could the appearance of marshmallows everywhere be a publicity effort by the film studio?
2. August 30 is celebrated as National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Why is it celebrated? According to Punchbowl.com, “The history of the marshmallow dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians harvested the sweet gooey extract of the mallow plant and used it to make candy. It was a very special treat reserved exclusively for gods and royalty. The modern-day marshmallows we know and love today emerged during the 19th century…” Hmm, I suspect when they talk about “gods and royalty” somehow the modern day Hamptonistas take notice, and feel compelled to jump on the bandwagon. So, perhaps the film industry and the marshmallow food industry got together to come up with a giant marshmallow farming strategy?
3. Then, the day before National Toasted Marshmallow Day, the U.S. Federal Government got involved. On August 29 the U.S. Forest Service published a nearly 700-word article on how to safely roast marshmallows, including recommendations on how long the stick should be (at least 30 inches), distance from the campfire (10 feet), and even tips for making s’mores more healthy by substituting fruit for the chocolate—I saw no mention of how Smokey the Bear feels about this. So, perhaps the government will now be overseeing how marshmallows get farmed, and it could potentially become part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative.
Something is definitely going on here, but that’s not for me to figure out, so I’ll continue to enjoy the scenic beauty and tasty enjoyment of the giant marshmallows grown and harvested on the local farms.
If you happen upon some of these freakish confections, please take a picture and send to us! Email the DansPapers.com staff here.