BY HANA MEDINA
IT’S BEEN a tradition since childhood:
My October birthday is never without my
favourite dessert: a heaping slice of Costco’s
pumpkin pie. I’ve tried many a pumpkin
pie, but, hands down, nothing excites my
taste buds more than the delightfully spicy
custard and exquisitely textured crust that
Costco’s bakers mix to perfection each year.
And at Costco’s price, you can’t even attempt
to make your own for less (or have it taste
nearly as good).
I’m certainly not the only member who
counts down to Costco’s pie season (which
is, for the record, September through
December). O;ered as a bakery staple since
;;;;, the pies were quickly incorporated
into members’ holiday traditions. Just last
year, ;;;,;;; pumpkin pies flew out of
bakeries across Canada, ;;;,;;; of which
were in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
Curious about what it takes to bring
these pies to our tables each year, I found
myself standing amidst never-ending ro ws
of orange and green on a pumpkin farm last
I learn that pumpkins grow well in
nutrient-rich soil and dry, warm weather.
Since they lie on the ground, wet weather,
combined with the fruit’s vines and broad
leaves, can produce mould and other factors
that ruin the crop.
Picking up a pale orange, oblong pumpkin, I ;nd out that Costco speci;cally uses
puree made from the Dickinson variety. It’s
heartier than the Jack O’ Lantern pumpkin,
and the meat is thicker. They typically weigh
in between ;.; kilograms and ;.; kilograms
(;; to ;; pounds). Dickinsons o;er a stronger pumpkin ;avour than other varieties,
which makes them ideal for baking.
Pumpkin seeds are planted in May. The
harvest and production run from mid-Au-gust to early November. I watch as the harvest unfolds: Employees operate equipment
that gathers pumpkins into straight rows
and clips them from their vines (a process
called windrowing). Two machines follow;
one scoops pumpkins into an auger system
that pops them into the second machine, a
cross between a tractor and a dump truck.
That machine then carefully dumps the
pumpkins into the trailer of a large semi.
Nothing is done by hand.
Pumpkins are trucked to a canning
facility and o;oaded onto a conveyor, which
takes the raw pumpkin through several
Tracing Costco’s iconic
FOR YOUR TABLE
A COSTCO FAMILY RECIPE
THE FAMOUS pie recipe was developed
right within Costco’s walls in 1989. It
was soon duplicated across Costco’s
locations. And it hasn’t changed much:
The only difference between a 1989
pie and a 2017 pie is the size; it went
from 25. 4 centimetres ( 10 inches) in
diameter to 30. 5 ( 12 inches), offering
even more value to members.—HM