Though temperatures remain high, it’s Sept. 1, which means it’s officially time for the pumpkin-flavored cravings to come out of hibernation — pumpkin spice to begin appearing on menus everywhere.
With Starbucks, who are typically credited with starting this craze back in October 2003, tweeting that their pumpkin spice latte is back in stores on Aug. 27 — the earliest it’s ever been released — pumpkin season is officially beginning earlier and earlier every year.
Regardless, pumpkin spice truly is everywhere you look at this time of year, including in the Santa Clarita Valley. Whatever it is, you name it, I’m sure you can find it.
Though Starbucks began the pumpkin-craze, many other coffee shops have seen the want continuing year round, including Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, whose pumpkin spiced latte is served either hot, cold or blended.
“We usually carry it until we run out,” head barista Cassie Hernandez said. “This past season carried us all the way throughout the year. It’s very popular, and we definitely sell a lot of it.”
When Hernandez began at Bodhi in November last year, customers still wanted the drink, and she said she was surprised to see it continue throughout the spring and summer.
Bodhi also offers a pumpkin cold brew and is hoping to get some pumpkin-based baked goods in their shops in the coming weeks, according to Hernandez.
In addition, Bodhi will be offering free 12-ounce cold brew or drip coffee every Monday through September at their Sierra Highway location, according to owner and manager Stephanie Inmon.
Dangling Carrot Confections, a new bakery that celebrated its grand opening on Aug. 9, has also brought out their pumpkin drinks and treats just last week, according to manager Amanda Sedivec.
A pumpkin chai latte, along with pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and a pumpkin cupcake have made an appearance on the bakery’s new fall menu, with more in the works to be debuted soon, Sedivec said.
And while Starbucks has continued to expand their pumpkin-flavored repertoire, such as a pumpkin spice creamer, pumpkin cream cold brew, as well as scones, madeleines and muffins, many other brands have followed suit.
Not only have Dunkin’s pumpkin spice coffee, K-Cup pods, doughnuts, muffins and Munchkins donut holes returned this season, but they have also debuted at cinnamon sugar pumpkin signature latte.
Pillsbury’s pumpkin spice rolls and Dairy Queen’s pumpkin pie blizzard will also be making a return this season, according to both company’s websites.
Many of the classic cereal brands have brought back their pumpkin spiced cereals, including Cheerios, Life and Mini-Wheats, and will be hitting the shelves this month.
Mary Lou’s Gourmet Popcorn is currently finalizing their fall flavors, but one thing is for certain — there will be a pumpkin pie-flavored popcorn that will be available mid-September, according to co-creator Shelia Moran.
Those aren’t the only sweet treats though, as both Halo Top and Talenti have created their own versions of pumpkin pie-flavored ice cream and gelato.
“I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of the pumpkin obsession at first, but it’s certainly grown on me,” said Yolanda Romo, a Canyon Country resident. “It was almost like I was protesting it’s popularity before I realized how yummy it all is.”
Romo admits she now goes store to store to seek out their new pumpkin-flavored items each year, including Greenies — new, limited-edition pumpkin spice-flavored dental treats for her dog.
“OK, I know it sounds strange,” Romo said, chuckling, “but my dog always runs over when he can smell the pumpkin flavor of anything I’m drinking … and he took a huge chunk out of my jack-o’lanterns last year, so I had to get them for him.”
Larsen’s Steakhouse also has its own unique way to showcase the flavor, their “Pumpkin Harvest” drink, which is essentially a pumpkin martini.
The drink, which is considered by many as “dessert in a glass,” debuted last fall, and was popular enough for it to remain on the menu throughout the year.
Wolf Creek Brewery’s Pumpkin Weizen is another very popular alcoholic drink, brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar and spices, according to saleswoman Tyna Brookins.
This hefeweizen, also often referred to as “pumpkin pie in a glass,” will be back on Sept. 5 in the usual gallon barrels, as well as in a 24 pack of 16-ounce bottles, so you can take it back home with you, Brookins added.
Though there are already what may seem like too many squash-like flavored items, companies are still constantly rolling out new concoctions, some of which may not sound as appetizing, such as pumpkin spice SPAM or pumpkin spice protein powder.
Alright, now who’s ready for peppermint season?