New PTTP fundraiser this weekend for all ages to support Institute’s research

farmer john pttp

You can pick a pink pumpkin or paint a pumpkin pink this weekend, among numerous other activities, at a new fundraiser event in rural Austin to support The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research.

Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch is hosting its first “Paint the Patch Pink” event from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at its farm about eight miles northwest of Austin. Lots of pink picture opportunities will be available, including with a pink John Deere tractor owned by “Paint the Town Pink” director Kathi Finley, who will give free wagon rides both days.

Admission is free for the event, and any baby born after Oct. 15, 2014, can get a free pumpkin. Dr. Edward “Ted” Hinchcliffe, leader of the Cellular Dynamics section at The Hormel Institute, also plans to be part of Sunday’s festivities from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Fundraising through “Paint the Patch Pink” will count toward the 6th annual “Paint the Town Pink” initiative in 2016 to raise awareness and support for The Hormel Institute’s cutting-edge breast cancer research in Austin.

John Ulland, most commonly known as “Farmer John,” has grown pumpkins since 1988. Visitors to the pumpkin patch run by him and his wife, Jan, can go into the field and select their favorite pumpkin from more than 30 varieties. Most varieties are orange while some are white, grey, red or tan.

This year, Farmer John’s is offering a pink pumpkin variety called the “Porcelain Doll.” Given that the Porcelain Doll is a relatively large pumpkin, Farmer John’s also will have pink paint available for younger children to paint a smaller, white pumpkin.

The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota will be making an application for a large grant to support its breast cancer research in relation to the “Paint the Patch Pink” event.

Farmer John’s is one of the nation’s pumpkin growers who have committed to giving a percentage of proceeds from every pink pumpkin sold this year to organizations involved in breast cancer research through the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation. Formed in 2012, the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation provides aid in the fight against breast cancer by raising donations and then reviewing and awarding grant applications to cancer research organizations, with some past awards totaling $30,000.

Earlier this year, “Paint the Town Pink” raised more than $190,000 for breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute. Since 2011, “Paint the Town Pink” has raised about $551,000 in support for the Institute’s breast cancer research.

Donations through “Paint the Town Pink” in recent years have been distributed as seed grants to researchers at The Hormel Institute for new projects on breast cancer, helping the investigators explore new ideas and gather preliminary data vital for seeking major research grants. While directed at breast cancer, PTTP-funded research includes projects that also affect other types of cancer.

Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch is located eight miles northwest of Austin at 90537 273rd St. Those driving from Austin on U.S. 218 North should turn left or west at the red Lansing Corners building.