'Lettuce live, lettuce love'

Celebration honors Yampa history, vegetable's role in local agriculture

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— Most people don't give a second thought to lettuce.

At the grocery store, it's iceberg or romaine, butter chard or arugula.

It gets thrown on a burger or tossed in a salad. Most people don't obsess about where their lettuce came from.

But in Yampa, lettuce used to be a way of life.

Saturday's "Lettuce Celebrate" Garden Tour is just that - a celebration of the town's rich lettuce and spinach agricultural industries, which helped Yampa thrive less than a century ago.

"It was our main crop," Yampa resident and trustee Karen Tussey said.

To honor that history, the Yampa-Egeria Historical Society is sponsoring several events Saturday, including a guided wagon tour of the town's vegetable and flower gardens accompanied by local historian Rita Herold's historical perspective, a food contest, refreshments, a "Watermelon Crawl" cake walk with watermelon and vegetable prizes, Yampa Egeria Museum tours and a historic pictorial with garden photos by Hildred Fogg.

"Lettuce Celebrate" also is the last event the town will have to celebrate its centennial, Tussey said.

"It's kind of the last ya-hoo of the centennial celebration," she said.

All of Saturday's events are free and open to the public.

Tussey said the guided wagon tours can hold 18 people per ride and that there are three scheduled tours.

The tours begin at 9:30 a.m. and run every hour, she said.

There are 10 or 12 houses in Yampa that have signed up for the garden/vegetable tour, and participants will have the opportunity to explore each one.

"We have so many beautiful flower and vegetable gardens in town," she said. "It's going to be great to crawl around everyone's yard."

Tussey's own home, at 208 Moffat Ave., is on the stop, although she has one lawn feature that goes beyond the typical gnome or pink flamingo - a labyrinth.

"If people are interested, they can come back after the tours and just walk the labyrinth," she said.

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