This morning the playgroup in our ward took a self guided tour of the Venetucci Farm just a few minutes from the house, a family farm since 1936. And because I was curious, I looked up Nick Venetucci, the “Pumpkin Man,” on Wikipedia and learned some amazing facts. He played baseball for the New York Yankees organization when he was 22 but stopped early when his family (immigrants from Italy) bought about 100o acres in Colorado Springs. In 1942, the family sold 800 acres of their land to the US Army to help establish Camp Carson (now Fort Carson) for $10 an acre. He courted his wife for 27 years! In the 1950s he started giving pumpkins away to every local child he saw as he drove his truck around town. Over the years, it is estimated that the farm gave away over 1 million pumpkins. And…he is apparently a subject in On the Road with Charles Kuralt.
The farm was put into conservancy with a local foundation that now holds annual give-away days when school groups (or playgroups) can come get free pumpkins, see the animals, and learn about how food is grown.
Now for the narrated photo series:
Our group was gathering near the chicken coop and as soon as Miles reached up to the fence, he got pecked. But he was a very brave boy and didn’t cry.
But he decided to move onto something nicer. Like a goat. And they became fast friends.
Since the pumpkins are all grown on site, they actually had volunteers come out a few days ago to prepare the field for the kids (i.e. cutting them from the vine and moving some around for easier access). Once at the patch, we were given a lesson about Nick Venetucci and the rule he initiated for picking pumpkins: only pick one that you can carry all the way up the hill by yourself. Miles took this to heart.
Until he realized that this rotten little green one was much easier to pick up and carry.
I took that one away as we kept exploring. Unfortunately, the rows with pumpkin vines all over were a bit difficult to maneuver with little toddler feet. But it did result in the cutest picture of the day.
Then he set his sights on the pumpkin of his dreams.
I had to convince him to move on to something that followed the rules, but at that point he was too frustrated from falling so often that I carried it up the hill for him. We tried to get a picture right before we left with his actual pumpkin, but he wasn’t having it.
Overall it was a very enjoyable morning at the farm that we will probably visit for years to come.