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Oly zucchini pins crop up

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PROVO ? These may be the only zucchini ever seen that come in limited quantities.

There are just 1,000 of these pins for the 2002 Winter Games ? and they were produced by fun-loving Utah County commissioners.

And all three of the commissioners break into grins when asked about the plentiful green summer vegetable.

"I came up with the idea last harvest season when the annual Utah Valley zucchini trading among my neighbors was at its peak," Utah County Commissioner Jerry Grover said.

"Since locals actually collect and trade the actual zucchini, I though an Olympic trading pin ought to be a hit."

The pins can be purchased for $7 each at a gift shop in the Historical Utah County Courthouse at 51 S. University Ave. The cost of production is paid with gift shop funds and should be more than paid back by the sale of the pins.

Or, if you're lucky, the commissioners will give you one at a government meeting.

Jim Riley from Utah's Water Engineer's Office received one Tuesday. Marketing consultant Joe Lathrop was handed another.

"That'll be on eBay by this afternoon," Commissioner David Gardner quipped.

Gardner said he saw another Utah County pin, featuring Salt Lake City's Olympic mascots playing ice hockey, sell for $20 on the Internet site.

The pin is green and gold and features three slices of ripe zucchini alongside a whole green one where the lettering "Utah County Zucchini" appears.

Etched on the reverse side is the notation "1 of 1000."

Grover said the novelty pin is designed to go along with other "Olympic food" pins that have proved to be popular.

Pins featuring green Jell-O, corn on the cob and the unique-to-Utah french fry sauce are selling like, well, hotcakes.

"While not a native Utah Valley species, I think I have seen zucchini used in more ways here than anywhere," Grover said. "You can always tell the person who doesn't have any friends when you see them buying zucchini at the grocery store."

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com