NORWALK, CONN., September 1, 2021 – What are the three surefire signs of fall? There’s a slight chill in the air, the leaves start to change, and Stew Leonard’s harvest favorites arrive! Apples, pumpkins, and mums will arrive at the farm-fresh food retailer by mid-September from local farmers throughout New York and Connecticut, heralding in the tastes, sights, and sounds of autumn throughout the store.
Customers take a bite out of more than half of a million pounds of Stew Leonard’s apples from September through November! The most popular apple of choice is the Honeycrisp apple followed by the Gala apple. Charles Yeh, Stew Leonard’s Executive Director of Fresh Foods, says that local apples will be in full swing by mid-September.
Available in Early September:
Zestar: An early maturing apple, these crisp and juicy apples are great for eating.
McIntosh: These sweet and juicy apples offer a tart tang. White, tender, crisp flesh that’s spicy, highly aromatic and full of juice. A classic eating apple!
Gala: Sweet and juicy. A sweet, snappy, aromatic apple that is usually red and yellow striped. Great for eating and for slicing into salads.
Honeycrisp: Just as the name sounds, these are sweet, crisp apples. Great for eating and for slicing into salads.
Macoun: Crisp, bone-white flesh, sweet-tart flavor – great for eating fresh.
Recipe: Apple-Pecan Pork Chops
Although tart apples like McIntosh and Macoun add more flavor contrast to this recipe, apples such as Galas and Honeycrisps will create a slightly sweeter sauce for this ultimate cool-weather dish.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
4 Stew’s Naked Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops, fat trimmed
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Stew Leonard’s Unsalted Butter
1 cup Thinly sliced apple (1 medium)
1 Tbsp. Packed brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
Season both sides of the pork chops.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced apple. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
Push the apples to the sides of the skillet and add the pork chops. Cook for 4 minutes, browning both sides. Flip the chops and spoon the apple slices over the top. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and pecans.
Cover and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork chops registers 145°F.
Serve the pork chops with the apple slices and drizzle with any cooking juices left in the pan.
Pumpkins will start to arrive at Stew Leonard’s Garden Centers in mid-September, sourced from local pumpkin growers, including Geremia Greenhouse in Wallingford, Conn., Dzen Farms in Ellington, Conn. and Hapco Farms on Long Island. Stew Leonard’s will sell more than half a million pumpkins this fall, including mini-pumpkins, sugar pumpkins, gourds, and gourmet pumpkins! Families from all over the region will come to Stew’s Garden Centers to select their pumpkins for carving, displaying, and cooking during the harvest season.
Decorating and Cooking with Pumpkins
Not all pumpkins will be carved into jack-o-lanterns this fall. In fact, more than half of pumpkins sold this season will be of the “gourmet” variety, perfect for baking, cooking, and even decorating everything from the front stoop to a tabletop.
Magic Lantern pumpkins are great for carving into a classic jack-o-lantern, offering a brilliant orange color and classic sturdy green stem.
Sugar pumpkins, or “pie” pumpkins, are much smaller in size and are great for kids’ decorating projects or for use in the kitchen. Hollow them out to make festive bowls for squash or pumpkin soup.
The tear-drop shaped Hubbard Squash weighs in around 20-30lbs and has a bluish-gray skin. Use the Hubbard Squash as a substitute in winter squash recipes.
The old-fashioned looking Fairytale Pumpkins average around 20-30lbs each. They have a tan outer coloring with a deep orange flesh.
Cinderella Pumpkins are 20lbs each and have a bright orange-ish/red skin.
Ghost pumpkins are all white, making for a chic decorating alternative to the classic orange. They also have an extra-spooky appeal when a candle is placed inside of a carved out one.
An “heirloom” variety of pumpkin, Long Island Cheese pumpkins are great for making pumpkin pies. They have a smooth tan skin and top out around 15lbs.
With a rich, reddish/orange color, the Red Warty pumpkin has a bumpy exterior but a sweet and string-less flesh, making it great for eating.
How To Make Your Jack-O-Lantern Last
For parents hoping to make their child’s Jack-O-Lantern last until Halloween and beyond, Stew Leonard’s Garden Center experts have a few easy tricks to help keep a carved pumpkin looking its best:
- Apply a generous scoop of petroleum jelly to the inside of your carved pumpkin, especially any cut areas. This will help keep it firm for weeks.
- Mix together equal parts of lemon juice and water and spray on both the inside and outside of your pumpkin. The acid mixture helps preserve your pumpkin and hardens the outside for increased protection against cold, wind, and rain.
- Cover the pumpkin in vegetable oil to prevent decay and shriveling. Pumpkins tend to shrivel because of too much oxygen, and vegetable oil acts as a protecting agent.
Recipe: Pumpkin Bread with Maple Syrup & Brown Sugar Topping
Maple syrup isn’t just for pancakes and French toast! Here’s a recipe that combines the best of Autumn-inspired flavors like pumpkin, cinnamon, and maple syrup.
Makes: 12 pieces
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes (plus cooling)
½ cup Stew Leonard’s Unsalted Butter, softened
½ cup Granulated sugar
2 Large Stew Leonard’s Large Eggs, room temperature
½ cup Canned pumpkin
1-1/2 cups All-purpose flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1/3 cup Buttermilk
½ tsp. Ground cinnamon
1 tsp. maple syrup
4 Tbsp. Stew Leonard’s Unsalted Butter, melted
1 Tbsp. Stew Leonard’s Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
2 Tbsp. Packed Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
¼ cup Chopped Walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the canned pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, alternating additions with the buttermilk. Beat after each addition to combine. Stir in the cinnamon and maple syrup. Batter will be a thicker texture.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing the bread to a wire rack.
For the topping, combine the melted butter and maple syrup in a small bowl. Brush the cooled loaf with the butter mixture. Then, combine the sugars and cinnamon. Sprinkle the loaf with the sugar mixture and walnuts and serve.
From vibrant pinks and purples to rusty oranges and reds, mums offer a pop of autumnal color to your garden, front porch, and more! Stew Leonard’s mums come directly from our local growers, including DeFrancesco Farms and Geremia Farms in Connecticut as well as Plainview Growers in New Jersey.
Here are just a few of Stew Leonard’s most asked questions about mums:
What color will this mum be?
It’s almost impossible to say what color a mum will be unless you see the fully opened flower. The bud may be a bit deceptive! Look for a mum that has at least one bloom fully opened to get an idea of the color.
When should I plant my mums?
The best time to plant mums is right after you purchase it. When planting mums, do not overcrowd them as they require good air circulation, which will prevent the chance of disease. Mums don’t like to dry out, so make sure to water every day if it is planted in the ground. If the mum is potted, then you may have to water more than once a day as wind can dry the pots out quicker.
When should I trim back the blooms?
Mums will usually have two to three sets of flowers. Planted mums should be trimmed three times during the growing season to keep the plant compact and shaped nicely. Potted mums won’t need much trimming; just clip off flowers that are burnt or brown if you have new buds on the way.
Can mums survive a frost?
Yes, but the flowers that are in bloom may get burnt. If that happens, remove the burnt ones so the next flush can bloom.
AROUND THE STORE…
In addition to fresh apples in Stew’s produce department, bins of pumpkins, and potted mums in the Garden Shop, Stew Leonard’s has a variety of seasonal treats available throughout the store. Bethy’s Bakery offers apple cider donuts, Dutch apple pie, apple crumb cake, apple crisp, apple fritters, and apple cider walnut bread. Plus, Stew Leonard’s Apple Cider comes directly from apples grown in the Hudson Valley. Pumpkin flavor can also be found in bagels, pie, bread, crumb cake and mini-muffins, as well as in frozen yogurt and coffee. (Selection may vary by store.)
About Stew Leonard’s
Stew Leonard’s, a family-owned and operated fresh food store founded in 1969, has seven stores in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, Conn.; in East Meadow, Farmingdale & Yonkers, N.Y.; and in Paramus, N.J. Stew’s earned its nickname, the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” because of its country-fair atmosphere, with costumed characters and animated entertainment throughout the store that keep children entertained while parents shop. Stew Leonard’s legion of loyal shoppers is largely due to the stores’ passionate approach to customer service: “Rule #1 — The Customer is Always Right”; Rule #2 – If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1.” This principle is so essential to the foundation of the company that it is etched in a three-ton granite rock at each store’s entrance. The company’s culture is built around an acronym for S.T.E.W.: Satisfy the customer; Teamwork gets it done; Excellence makes it better; WOW makes it fun. For more information, visit Stew Leonard’s website at www.stewleonards.com.
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