FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Meghan Bell
NORWALK, CONN., September 10, 2020 – 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 a 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: Mrs. Leonard’s Best Baked Apples
Maple syrup and cinnamon mixed with warm apple to create a heavenly dessert that will make your whole kitchen light up with the aroma of fall.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
• 4 apples, cored
• 4 tablespoons Stew Leonard’s maple syrup
• 1/2 cup Stew Leonard’s apple cider
• Ground cinnamon
• Peel 1-inch around tops of cored apples. Place apples in microwave-safe casserole dish and then pour cider around apples.
• Fill each apple with 1 tablespoon syrup and dust lightly with cinnamon.
• Cover and microwave on high for 10 minutes until fork tender.
Pumpkins will start to arrive at Stew Leonard’s Garden Centers in mid-September. Sourced from local pumpkin growers throughout the state of Connecticut, Stew Leonard’s will sell 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.
“This past summer’s weather has been perfect for growing pumpkins,” notes Stew Leonard Jr. “The sunny days and just the right amount of rain has ripened the pumpkins nicely.”
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: Halloween Pumpkin Sage Soup
A festive way to celebrate the season! Up the ante with this dish by serving the soup in individually sized hollowed out sugar pumpkins.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• 3 tbs. Stew Leonard’s Butter
• 6 leaves fresh sage, slightly crushed
• 1 cup onion, finely chopped (about 2 medium onions)
• 2 lbs. canned pumpkin chunks (not pumpkin puree)
• 2 cups Stew Leonard’s Chicken Broth
• 1 cup Water
• 1 cup Stew Leonard’s Milk
• 1 cup Stew Leonard’s Heavy Cream or Half and Half
• 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, grated
• 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
• Salt & Pepper, to taste
• Heat the butter in a pot and add the crushed sage leaves and onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the pumpkin chunks, chicken broth, water, salt, and pepper.
• Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 20 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of an electric blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot.
• Add the milk and half-and-half, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
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 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.