It’s that time of the year again!
Autumn décor is starting to fill the stores, and most popular restaurants and food companies are unveiling their latest pumpkin spice creations. Here are a couple of fun facts about the harvest season you may find interesting:
Most Fall leaves do not change color due to “death.”
It’s popular belief that many tree leaves change color because they “die” as the weather becomes cooler and sunlight decreases. In actuality, many tree leaves have the potential to be yellow, orange, purple or red all year long. Leaves get their green color in the spring and summer from the pigment chlorophyll. The decreased sunlight and cooler temperatures cause chlorophyll to break down. This break down of the pigment exposes other pigments which cause the leaves to look yellow, orange, red or purple during this time of the year. Colorful leaves that remain on the tree are just as much alive as they were in the summer, while other tree species shed their lives and sprout new ones in the spring.
States like Vermont make millions of dollars off colorful Autumn leaves.
That’s right. The pigment change of leaves creates a multi-million dollar difference in tourism for many New England states. Some reports estimate that Vermont has a $460 million tourist influx in the Autumn due to people who enjoy “leaf peeping”. More than three and a half million tourists come to Vermont each fall to see and photograph the explosion of color.
Pumpkin spice tastes nothing like real pumpkin.
The pumpkin spice flavor that bursts unto the scene around this time every year is actually a mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger and cloves. Food companies have developed several versions of a synthetic taste based on chemicals found naturally in pumpkins in combination with these spices. Every “pumpkin spice” taste is slightly different, but the exclusivity of the taste brings in millions for food companies and restaurants every Fall season.
Autumn is created by the Earth’s tilt, not its distance from the sun.
Yet another popular belief that is not factual. Like all of the seasons, Autumn is caused by the Earth's tilt in relation to the sun. It gets warmer in each hemisphere when that hemisphere tilts toward the sun and colder when it leans away. The reason we experience Autumn in the later months of the year here in the Northern hemisphere is because this is when the Earth tilts away from the sun. The distance of Earth from the sun has no bearing on the change of the seasons.