Warm, sunny fall afternoons strolling through the pumpkin patch, surrounded by the gorgeous flame of turning trees and fallen leaves crunching underfoot. The season is finally here. Pumpkins have arrived!
With the booming popularity of pumpkin flavored foods, one thing is clear: People really like pumpkin—in almost everything! Pumpkin flavored coffee, teas, bagels, donuts, ice cream, beer, soup, even potato chips. I love pumpkin! I’m just not sure about the chips!
Starbucks is often credited with kick-starting the popularity of pumpkin almost a decade ago when they introduced their pumpkin spice latte. Surprisingly, many times “pumpkin spice” lacks real pumpkin, as with Starbucks’ popular seasonal latte, which is made up of a combination of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove. No matter what, the pumpkin spice flavoring is working. Recent market research by Datassential MenuTrends reports that pumpkin drink offerings on restaurant menus have increased 400 percent in the past five years.
According to recent restaurant trends and an article in the New York Times, pumpkin (including pumpkin spice) is everywhere and everybody wants it. In fact, pumpkin has even surpassed apple and become the signature fall flavor. Furthermore, increased consumer demands show that pumpkin could even replace peppermint mocha as the top seasonal flavor of the year.
This passion for pumpkins is quite intriguing. Is it their bright, cheerful color? Or is it because they’re plump and happy looking? Pumpkins seem to evoke a sense of nostalgia for the fun of childhood—farm trips, hayrides, trick or treating, Jack o’ Lanterns, Thanksgiving stories, family gatherings, plus seasonal porch and table décor. Sweet and simple, pumpkins somehow comfort us with their powerful pumpkin “feeling” by representing harvest time and the bounty of the land, and reminding us of our agrarian roots.
From a health perspective, there are loads of reasons to celebrate this big, beautiful orange squash. Pumpkins have some powerful health perks. They’re a great source of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention according to the National Cancer Institute. Pumpkins are also nutritionally rich in fiber and in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium.
Pumpkins are definitely a health food—that is, until they are baked into a savory dessert like pumpkin pie! Interestingly, despite the high demand for pumpkin flavored foods and drinks, on their own pumpkins are not all that appetizing. Dense and stringy, pumpkins require a certain amount of sugar and spices before they become palatable to most people.
One way to indulge in the season while keeping the fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, and calories to a minimum is to try my new Pumpkin Patch cookies, which I’m proud to report contain real organic pumpkin, not just pumpkin spice! (Note: One slice of pumpkin pie has about 323 calories, while a serving of Lucy’s Pumpkin Patch cookies is only 120 calories.) With a similar balance of sweetness and spice, my pumpkin cookies are just a step away from pumpkin pie—and something that even the holiday traditionalist might really like. Plus, they’re easy. Just grab a cookie and take it with you!
And if pumpkin isn’t your preference, I invite you to try our special Maple Crunch cookies, made just for fall. These cookies have a sweet maple syrup taste along with an extra crispy oat crunch topping. With a light airy texture, my cookies go perfectly with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Folks love the warm, rich flavors of fall, so I’m happy to offer these special treats.
Look for Lucy’s Pumpkin Patch and Maple Crunch cookies in local grocery stores near you, including Publix, Whole Foods Market, Central Market, H-E-B, Earth Fare, Food Town, New Seasons Market, Akin’s, Chamberlin’s, and Andronico’s Community Markets. Later this month, these new flavors can also be purchased through Amazon.com. (We’ll post a reminder when they’re ready!)
Whether eating a pumpkin cookie or drinking a pumpkin spice latte—or both!—I hope you spend this season enjoying foods and activities that brighten your day. Take time for the simple pleasures of fall.