Venetucci Farms bursting with pumpkins a year after water issues left its patch barren

Venetucci pumpkins
The decades old tradition of school children picking out their pumpkins is back this year at the Venetucci Farm after a year without pumpkins. Students from Pikes Peak Elementary School in District 2 run through rows of pumpkins on the way to picking out the perfect pumpkin on Thursday, October 5, 2017. Last year, a severe summer hailstorm coupled with water contamination issues resulted in a pumpkin-less year for the beloved farm. Since last year, produce samples have been sent to a certified lab in Canada and researchers at the Colorado School of Mines and UCCS, according to a press release sent from the farm in August. After reviewing the data on produce residue levels, the state epidemiologist confirmed that "the identified levels were well below the health screening levels for fruits and vegetables". In the 1950's, farmer Nick Venetucci started the tradition of giving away pumpkins to school children. Since then, millions have been given away. Once before there was a year without pumpkins, In 2002, a severe drought resulted in no pumpkins. Pumpkins can be bought by the public this Saturday, October 7 from 12 a.m. to 3 p.m and Saturday, October 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A local non-profit, the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, keeps the Venetucci tradition alive. Venetucci died in 2004 and there is a statue to honor him adjacent to the Pioneers Museum. Photo by Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette

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