Starbucks can keep its Pumpkin(less) Spice Lattes. We, as a nation, get our real festive fix from pumpkin pies—and we've got one small town to thank for that. Morton, Illinois provides Americans with 80 percent of the deliciously globby, straight-from-a-can pumpkin filling that we gobble down a few months of the year.
The Libby's brand has been in business since 1869—originally for corned beef!—but didn't start getting serious about pumpkins until the 1950s; now the booming enterprise is owned by sweet-stuff megacorp Nestle USA (which, as parent company to Toll House and Carnation, is a major enabler of a good chunk of your holiday baking).
From August to November, millions of oblong winter squash make their way from contract farmers to the company's cannery in what is now the Pumpkin Capital of the World—a title taken from nearby Eureka—for smooshing, canning, and distribution. Amazingly, there are no additives whatsoever, just pure orange-colored goo. Thousands of acres in the region are also planted with pumpkin seeds, in soil that "drains well, has a good nitrogen content, and has a little bit of sand in it," according to operations manager Steve Buettel.
So this year when you're fixing up your favorite recipe—'tis the season, already! —give a little nod to the good folks in Morton who make the whole thing possible. [Manufacturing Business Technology via @nicolatwilley]
Photos via the Associated Press