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Pueblo farmers prepare for Chile & Frijoles Festival

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PUEBLO -

In less than two weeks, the annual Chile & Frijoles Festival will return to Pueblo.

Chile Fest begins next Friday and that means farmers in the county are working around the clock to get ready.

Shane Milberger, owner of Milberger Farms, says this is an especially busy year because chile is a bumper crop meaning it’s had an unusually productive harvest.

"There are millions of chiles out there,” said Milberger about his fields.

He and his family have been growing chiles for 30 years. He says the taste of the chiles isn’t the only good thing this year, but also, just how many there are in his fields.

"We've been fortunate this year that there has not been any bad weather for us other than a few rainstorms and some flooding, so everybody out here has very good chile this year."

Milberger says he has to harvest and pick all of it in just a few weeks.

"Mid-October we usually get a freeze. A freeze means the end of chile season so at that point the chile will be over till next year...myself and the neighbors, we're all putting in about 12 to 14 hours a day of harvesting this chile and trying to get it to market."

One of those markets will be the Chile and Frijoles Festival in downtown Pueblo.

"It is a great economic impact to all of us, for Pueblo themselves, and for us farmers. It's a good weekend that we all get to move a lot of volume...don't delay. Come on out and get your chile now."

Milberger says he and his family have been part of the festival since it started 23 years ago. His stand will have chile and roasted corn for sale.

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