Love it or hate it ... It's time again for all things pumpkin spice
As we move headlong into autumn, thoughts turn to leaf-peeping, hayrides, sweater weather, Halloween, Thanksgiving, bonfires and fall festivals. And, of course, all things pumpkin spice ... are you a fan?
I don't have anything against pumpkin spice. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorites — the spicier, the better.
The same goes for pumpkin rolls. And pumpkin ice cream. And pumpkin yogurt (I'm talking about you, Noosa).
But that's where I draw the line.
OK, I'll grant you coffee lovers your pumpkin spice lattes. Since I don't drink the stuff, I can't judge if it's good or bad — though it sounds bad.
But after that, I really do have to draw the line.
Call me picky, call me a purist, but there's no good reason for these things to even exist:
Pumpkin Spice Peeps (Peeps are for Easter and should only be that one unholy shade of neon yellow)
Pumpkin Spice Country Crock (even fake butter should try to taste like butter)
Pumpkin Spice Pringles (same goes for fake potato chips)
Then there's the pumpkin spice Jello, KitKats, Rice Krispie Treats, Life cereal, Twinkies, marshmallows, peanut butter and bagels.
Don't even get me started on the pumpkin spice dog treats and dog shampoo. To a dog, a treat is a treat. He's going to gobble it down as fast as he can, anyway. Do you really think he appreciates the extra you're paying for the clove, cinnamon and nutmeg?
And face it, Rover is still going to smell like a dog again an hour after you bathe him in ginger and allspice.
And while we're at it, you risk your life going into the mall right now. Your eyes water, your nose runs, your head aches from the reek of pumpkin spice candles, potpourri, soaps, lotions, house and body sprays.
Yes, there can be too much of a good thing.
Never get enough
It's the most wonderful time of the year! OK, second most wonderful ... it's pumpkin spice season.
And I love it.
The scent of pumpkin spice alone is intoxicating to me and my brethren. And there are a lot of us, CNN recently explored the unbounding craving for all things pumpkin spice.
It's not just the flavor and aroma that I love. It is a lot a like Christmas ... it is a season. It signals the end of the summer and the arrival of fall. It's the anticipation of things to come.
A recent trip to Bath and Body Works, with its pumpkin candles ablaze and faux pumpkins strewn about, sent me straight home to decorate. Oh and light a candle or three.
Because I am proudly #basic, I anxiously await the arrival of the #PSL (pumpkin spice lattes) at Starbucks every year. And Dunkin's pumpkin spice macchiato is to die for.
And don't get me started on the cases upon cases of pumpkin beers that are stacked up in six-pack shops and beer distributors everywhere.
Pittsburgh Brewing Co.'s Block House Brewing Pumpkin Ale is among my favorites. And don't forget the glass rimmed in cinnamon and sugar.
Pumpkin spice bagels, check. Pumpkin spice cookies with that ubiquitous white powdered sugar icing, check. Pumpkin spice ice cream, check. Check, check, check ... doesn't matter, I'll buy it and try it.
As in the lyrics of Florence + the Machine ... "Too Much is Never Enough."
A PSL of a different sort
Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce is organizing Pumpkin Spice Ligonier (PSL, get it?) and inviting participants to sample more than a dozen seasonal sweet and savory pumpkin treats from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 4. Unfortunately, the event is already sold out.
Last year's participants whipped up pumpkin soups, stews, cookies, hummus, muffins and juices to be served at various downtown locations and businesses.
Pumpkin spice everything
Pumpkin spice has permeated our world. Here are some of the more unusual spottings of the popular fall flavor:
• Pumpkin spice cellphone covers on Etsy
• Pumpkin spice pizza from Villa Italian Kitchen, according to NJ.com, is made with pumpkin pie filling, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and dollops of pumpkin spice added atop the mozzarella cheese.
• Spray-on pumpkin spice seasoning from Simply Beyond
• Pumpkin Spice Roasted Garbanzo Beans from RealFoodRN.com
• Pumpkin Spice Fettuccine from rossipasta.com
• Jet-Puffed Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows
• Pumpkin spice vodkas
• Pumpkin spice hand repair cream from Desert Essence
• Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer from Peter Thomas Roth
• Pumpkin spice hand soap from Williams Sonoma
• Premium Whey Blend pumpkin spice-flavored protein powder
• Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Pumpkin Spice nail polish
• Yankee Candle Spiced Pumpkin car vent clip
• Stirling Soap Co. Pumpkin Spice shave soap
• Burt's Bees Limited Edition pumpkin spice lip balm
• Pumpkin spice flavored cough drops
Pick a pumpkin, any pumpkin
While you were out having fun in the sun, local farmers were tending to their pumpkin patches, so they're ready to meet the demand of the new season.
Many of the pick your own farms listed below are hosting fall festivals too, so be sure to call ahead or visit online if you want to attend on a day where your family can participate in other fall favorite activities like hayrides and corn mazes — usually held on weekends through the end of October.
So, grab a PSL and head out to a local farm for some old fashioned fall fun.
Bedner's Farm and Greenhouse: 315 Coleman Road, McDonald. Saturdays and Sundays through October. 724-926-2541 or bednersgreenhouse.com
Freedom Farms: 434 Overbrook Road, Valencia. Saturdays-Sundays, beginning Sept. 30 through October. freedomfarmspa.com
Hozak Farms: 488 Anderson-Hozak Road, Clinton. Daily, beginning Sept. 30 through October. 724-899-2400 or hozakfarms.com
Renshaw Farms: 314 Ford City Road, Freeport. Fridays-Sundays, beginning Sept. 30 through October. 724-294-0061 or renshawfarms.com
Schramm Farms: 1002 Blank Road, Jeannette. Daily, beginning Sept. 30 through October. 724-744-7320 or schrammfarms.com
Shenot Farm: 3754 Wexford Run Road, Wexford. Saturdays and Sundays beginning Sept. 30; plus Columbus Day, Oct. 9. 724-935-2542 or shenotfarm.com
Simmons Farm: 17170 Simmons Road, McMurray. Daily, through October. 724-941-1490 or simmonsfarm.com/_index.php
Soergel Orchards: 2573 Brandt School Road, Wexford. Saturdays and Sundays through October. 724-935-1743 or soergels.com
The Springhouse: 531 Route 136, Washington. Daily, through October. 724-228-3339 or springhousemarket.com
Trax Farms: 528 Trax Road, Finleyville. Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, beginning Sept. 30 through October. 412-835-3246 or traxfarms.com
Triple B Farms: 823 Berry Lane, Monongahela. Daily, through October. 724-258-3557 or triplebfarms.com