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Eat Drink Savor: Fall flavors highlight three new Taylor Farms Chopped salad kits

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Seasonal offerings bring maple, fresh apples, and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice to the produce section

Three fall-influenced salad kits are now available from Taylor Farms salad kits, and they bring a welcome crunch of fresh vegetables and a hint of the season’s spices to the end of the year.

“What we wanted to do was to take all the flavors of the holidays and make sure that we had them all together,” said Charis Neves, Director of Innovation and Product Management at Taylor Farms. “And I think what is reminiscent of Fall for me is the cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove kinds of spices that you would get in an apple streusel—spices that go pretty well together at this time of the year.”

Apples are featured in two of the salads, the Spiced Apple and the Maple Dijon Crunch Chopped Kits. The third, the Pumpkin Spice Chopped Kit, brings the traditional flavors of pumpkin pie to the salad in a surprising, uniquely Taylor Farms, kind of way.

“Salads don’t have to be boring,” Nevis said. “There is a salad for everybody’s flavor profile or taste, and I think trying a new flavor and opening your mind up to something new is exciting. People send us pictures and post on social media the different ways they prepare our salads, and I think that if it becomes something you want to share like this with all your friends, then we have done our job here.”

Cinnamon also figures prominently in all three salads, and Nevis said that she enjoys using familiar components that people like which are not traditionally found in salads.

“They create a conversation piece,” she said. “They are something unusual you can take to potlucks or family gatherings that people are not expecting from a regular salad. We love to keep pushing that envelope for salad flavors to get more people interested in staying healthy and eating greens every day.”

The dressings for these salads were designed to highlight the colorful produce used in their creation, with the different colors of lettuce and cabbage supplemented by vegetables like carrots and green onion.

“All of these have a lighter dressing,” she said, “because we really wanted the vegetables in the toppings to be the star. They are not creamy and opaque like a ranch—we purposely made them more transparent because we thought it glistened on the vegetables really nicely, and that it presents really well when you’re eating it.”

The Pumpkin Spice and Spiced Apple salads are in limited release and will be retired for the season sometime in January. Nevis is currently at work on some new releases, and while she can’t say what they are yet, she promises they will be exciting.

“I love how creative I get to be,” she said. “I get to be a mad scientist, but also I get to be a serious social scientist because I study all the trends about what people like about food and what brings them joy. I try to take all of those feelings and put them into a new recipe that we can take to market.”

Taylor Farm Salad Kits for Fall

Spiced Apple Chopped Kit – “We really were focused on making the apple cider vinaigrette the hero,” Nevis said, “so we amplified it with some of the seasonal like cinnamon and others that are reminiscent of the holidays. We added dehydrated crispy apples and paired them with honey-roasted crouton chips. So you get a slight sweetness from the honey-roasted part, but you also get a little bit of the nuttiness from that particular crouton.” As a nod to New York-style apple pie with cheese, one of her favorite desserts, Nevis added creamy smoked gouda cheese to balance it out.

The Spiced Apple is as much about the crunch as it is about the apple flavor. Both red and Savoy cabbage, along with chopped broccoli stalks, green onion, and carrots, are mixed with romaine lettuce, with an added chewiness that comes from dried spiced apples. The light sourness of the apple cider vinaigrette is counterbalanced by the dusky cinnamon flavor that comes from the croutons.

Nevis suggests adding baked apples or serving the salad with sweet potatoes. I could see shopping up some leftover turkey or ham and making this a full lunch.

Maple Dijon Crunch Chopped Kit – “This one basically takes our love affair with apples and amplifies it,” Nevis said, “so you get real pieces of sliced ​​red and green apples in there. The Fall Crouton Chips are not quite as cinnamon-spiced as the pumpkin, and the dressing is maple with a hint of dijon mustard to balance it out, so you get a savory type of dressing with a kick of sweetness in the back. We wanted a really nice contrast, so we added a sharp cheddar cheese”

Having the same basic lettuce and cabbage ingredients as the Spiced Apple, the salad was already crunchy before adding in the crouton chips. They are crisp, with a dark brown bread flavor and just a little cinnamon. The maple and dijon tastes are very subtle, with the tartness of the vinaigrette being the dominant note. The apple pieces are, for me, a bit large. The first time I tried the salad, I left them intact, then chopped them into quarters the next time I made it, which I preferred.

Nevis suggests serving this with roast pork, but I think just adding a handful of chopped smoked almonds would be enough to turn this into a refreshing meal.

Pumpkin Spice Chopped Kit – “Pumpkin Spice is new this year, and we are pretty excited about it,” Nevis said. “Based on its popularity, we hope to bring this one back next year. We’ve had many people write in about how much they love it and how excited they are.”

This salad is fairly straightforward in terms of ingredients, with just romaine lettuce, croutons, pumpkin seeds, and dressing, but of course, there are interesting twists and turns.

“We took an apple cider vinaigrette,” said Nevis, “and we put apple and pumpkin puree into it. So that gives you a really good baseline and allows you to get some of the same notes that you got an apple spice but amplified with pumpkin. We paired that with spiced pepitas, and pumpkin seeds, as a nod to the holidays. And we really focused on a different kind of crouton, so we took a savory, buttery bread and cooked in some different flavors like cinnamon and cloves.

I approached this one with a little trepidation, thinking about the over-use of pumpkin spice in everything food-related, from pumpkin spice Twinkies to pumpkin spice ramen noodles. There are even pumpkin spice Milk-Bone dog biscuits…

I was relieved at this subtle take on the flavor, with the dressing lightly spiced without being oppressive and lightly bringing the clove and cinnamon notes into the mix. The cornbread crouton crumble is delicious, with another kick of cinnamon and a great texture. The pumpkin seeds are the star for me here, as they bring some crunch, but also provide a slightly different spice profile. This kit is being offered for only a limited time and might be hard to find, but I would certainly grab one at the store if I saw it.

BenitoLink thanks our underwriters, Hollister Super and Windmill Market for helping to expand the Eat, Drink, Savor series and give our readers the stories that interest them. Hollister Super (two stores in Hollister) and Windmill Market (in San Juan Bautista) support reporting on the inspired and creative people behind the many delicious food and drink products made in San Benito County. All editorial decisions are made by BenitoLink.