It’s Pumpkin time! He’s everywhere!
And it looks like he is not going away, either. In fact, the pumpkin industry is growing and improvising more with every season.
What is a pumpkin anyway?
First of all, the old guy is a member of the squash family. Pumpkins are native to North America.
The word “pumpkin” originates from the word “pepon” which is Greek for “large melon,” something round and large. The French adapted this word to “pompon” which the Brits changed to “pumpion” and to the later American colonists became known as “pumpkin.” The term “pumpkin” has no agreed upon botanical or scientific meaning and is used interchangeably with “squash” and “winter squash.”
Now that we know this bit of trivia, let’s move on.
Our lowly, meek pumpkin has his boxing gloves on! He is fighting the “plastic” and “ceramic” competition that continually shows up in the stores. He is not giving up to the other forms of decoration. Nope. He is branching out and aggressively taking on a new role in the food industry.
Look around when you go to the grocery store.
The pumpkin industry is no longer “just” pumpkin pie, jack-o-lanterns, table decorations, and cans of pumpkin puree. And, as you peruse the grocery aisle, keep in mind that this is a test. The marketers are testing us to see if we “bite” or not.
Let’s visit the cereal aisle.
Pumpkin Spice cereals are featured everywhere. You will find Kellogg’s frosted flakes and Life cereal sporting the pumpkin spice flavor. They are found down the row from the Frosted Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts. You can’t miss them!
Consider your next cup of coffee. C’mon. Don’t get in a rut. There are some new strangers on the shelves.
Pumpkin Spice flavored coffee abounds in several brands. And if you prefer a creamer ala the flavor of pumpkin, then the Nestle’s Coffee Mate Pumpkin Creamer will give you whatever strength of flavor that you need. How about trying Chocolate Pumpkin Spice creamer with your coffee? Or, grab the new Cold Brew Chocolate Pumpkin Spiced coffee bites. Godiva Pumpkin Chocolate G cubes are also delicious with coffee if you like these chocolates.
I may just venture in that direction. I like chocolate.
I’m still not sure about pumpkin-flavored coffee though. The thought makes me want to gag.
Don’t disregard the dairy aisle. It is featuring pumpkin flavors as well. Pumpkin Spice yogurt, Pumpkin Spice cottage cheese (No, I am not kidding!) and Pumpkin Cheesecake bars are right there at eye level.
Glancing at the desserts is always fun. Notice, I say “glance.” Desserts have a tendency to find their home in my cart if I don’t watch out. RxBar Pumpkin Spice bars, Pumpkin Spice cookie straws, and Halo Top ice cream are all boasting the pumpkin flavor.
Fred won’t go for this flavor. He says he is a “purist.” Vanilla, Vanilla, or vanilla. Those are his tastes.
Did you know, the Samuel Adams beer brand has come out with a Pumpkin Ale while his friend Captain Morgan has come out with “Jack-O- Blast” pumpkin flavored rum. Both have taken a prime spot on the liquor store shelves.
Remember, this is a test to find out if we accept these products or not. Magically, most will disappear as the Christmas elves hit the shelves.
I haven’t begun to scratch the surface of all the pumpkin flavors in the stores. Maybe I will just forget all of this and buy a simple pumpkin, grab a candle, and cut out a jack-o-lantern.
It’s about all I can absorb!
Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website juditabler.com.