Pumpkin has always been a prominent part of the fall — jack o'lanterns on the porch, pumpkin pie on the table — but since Starbucks started up with that Pumpkin Spice Latte stuff and everybody else in the food and drink business seems to be jumping on the pumpkin coach, it has become the ultimate, indisputable flavor of fall. A fact which has apparently not gone unnoticed at Trader Joe's corporate headquarters.
The chain's newsprint newsletter, "Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer," for October offers not a half-dozen or 15 or 20 pumpkin or pumpkin-themed products, but 52 — out of a total of 88 items. That's almost two-thirds of everything in the entire mailing (and that's not counting a handful of almost-pumpkin winter-squash recipes).
There are plenty of reasonable offerings here: pumpkin seeds (both raw and pumpkin-spiced), pumpkin bread mix, pumpkin ravioli, organic canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, the inevitable pumpkin spice coffee (in both K-cup-compatible capsules and regular ground form), and the equally inevitable pumpkin ale…
But, okay, let's be realistic here. Does the world really need pumpkin tortilla chips? Pumpkin toaster pastries? Pumpkin bagels? Pecan pumpkin instant oatmeal? Pumpkin pie spice cookie butter? Pumpkin seed brittle? Pumpkin panettone? Dark chocolate pumpkin spice salted caramels? Pumpkin pie mochi ice cream?
Can't we stop all this pumpkin stuff? Can't we just go back to jack o'lanterns and pie? Are we all getting high from too much cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace?
And in case you think I'm overstating the case, two last pumpkin items from the TJ mailing: pumpkin body butter. And pumpkin-flavored dog treats.