Autumn air fills the senses and reminds us summer is over and winter is around the corner. The hallmarks of this season are pumpkins, Halloween, harvest foods, and the changes of the landscape from green to fall foliage colors.
Be it the brilliant hues of red maples, red-browns of oaks, or yellows and purples of aspens and ashes, fall is a time to witness the changing of seasons, tasting the bounties of harvests, and enjoying traditions and life.
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Yet, fall foliage still remains a mystery. Some theories place emphasis on the weather and the development of color in tree leaves.
“Cool night temperatures destroy chlorophyll quickly, but temperatures below freezing inhibit production of red pigments” says the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division (Iowa DNR Forestry).
“The brightest displays of color occur when we have an early fall with bright sunny days and cool nights.”
Cloudy days and warm nights lessen the effect on the brilliance of colors and the reddening of leaves. According to Iowa DNR Forestry, it is not a dying process, but rather an active process of a living tree to change colors and have its leaves drop.
Fall harvest’s bountiful products for the taste buds’ delight include multiple recipes for pumpkin pies, apple cider, fresh apples and pomegranates, fresh squashes, and small peppers. Finding just the right pumpkin is also a seasonal ritual at the local grocery store or a farm involving a tractor hay ride to the field to pick pumpkins.