Fall Foreshadow: Pumpkin Treat Time Arrives | NBC Southern California

Fall Foreshadow: Pumpkin Treat Time Arrives

Autumn's unofficial official flavor makes an August stand.

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    Pumpkin-flavored everything time is well on its way; Dunkin' Donuts just previewed its pumpkin coffee, and Starbucks and Panera Bread are in the wings with their well-known pumpkin-y lattes.

    It just doesn't seem like August if you're not out stocking up on binders and rulers and new shoes and backpacks. Add a few potent heat waves to the back-to-school scene, and you've got a classic recipe for the eighth month of the year.

    But that classic August recipe has become tinged with pumpkin in recent years. It's not a shock to any coffee-loving patron of a fast casual restaurant chain that pumpkin-flavored drinks and pumpkin-flavored cookies and pumpkin-flavored pastas have grown exponentially more popular over the last decade or so, but what may surprise, a tad, is that the gourd-gourmet madness starts earlier each year.

    Starbucks announced at the end August of 2014 that its incredibly well-selling pumpkin spice latte, a seasonal drink, would debut even earlier than before, in September. The 2015 announcement arrived even earlier, on Aug. 7, when The Pumpkin Spice Latte's Twitter account — yep, it has one — revealed that it would be "back from vacay" in "18 days."

    Oh yeah, there's actual pumpkin in it as of this year. Same with Panera Bread's take on the fall beverage, which makes its annual return on Sept. 9.

    And at Dunkin' Donuts? The Massachusetts purveyor of all things pastry, which recently started its sweet stand here in Southern California with a host of stand-alone shops, is visiting the pop culture pumpkin patch even earlier, with an early-morning reveal on Aug. 18 of this fall's upcoming pumpkin coffee. (The reveal happened at select shops.)

    If you weren't one of the early guests on Aug. 18, take heart, pumpkin-flavored anything fans; the stores are starting to stock up on the many items that now come with a hint of autumn.

    Pumpkin candles, pumpkin cider, pumpkin lotion, pumpkin muffins are all on approach, even, yes, in August.

    So when do they start getting the jump on July? A watermelon-pumpkin matchup? Stay tuned.

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