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'Go with the flow of nature': Late summer heat wave affecting Colorado produce

Posted at 8:42 AM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-08 18:43:10-04

PUEBLO — High temperatures this late in the year are unusual, but no matter the weather, farmers are still working to get produce to tables.

DiTomaso Farms in Pueblo is gearing up for fall harvest, growing crops like tomatoes, melons, sweet corn, peppers, and pumpkins. Joe DiTomaso at the farm said their pumpkin harvest is on track this year even with the heat. He said pumpkins thrive in dry, hot weather and don't require a lot of water, making Colorado an ideal place to grow with summer droughts.

"They don't require a lot of water. So it's been pretty good, you know, even with the water shortage," said DiTomaso. "The thing they don't like is a lot of moisture. If we get a particularly rainy year, then they start to rot."

Joe DiTomaso
Joe DiTomaso with DiTomaso Farms said certain crops, like pumpkins, are thriving in the heat, but they've had to cut back on other products, like tomatoes, because of the heat.

The pumpkins are still a bit green, but DiTomaso said they will be ready for picking in a couple of weeks, just in time for fall. They provide the crop to markets in Colorado Springs, Peyton, and Falcon.

However, DiTomaso said they've had to cut back on other crops like tomatoes and other vegetables, due to this year's heat.

"We had to leave some of our ground idle, or furlough as they say, then because we didn't have enough water to sustain all the ground that we have for different crops and everything so we had to let some of them you know not be used," he said.

Two years ago in September, there was snow on the ground, which DiTomaso said was hard for their crops.

"We usually don't get an early frost that early. That particular year it froze a lot of the pumpkins and you know it was a loss you know, because of the severity of the cold," he said.

He said with the fluctuating weather, farmers have to "go with the flow of nature."
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