There’s a new biggest pumpkin in town, and it’s a whopping 2,528 pounds — making it the largest pumpkin in North America. Steve Geddes of Boscawen, New Hampshire, a farmer who has been growing pumpkins for a decade now, grew the enormous squash and won $6,000 in prize money at the Deerfield Fair in New Hampshire on Sept. 27.
Not only is his oversized pumpkin the heaviest in North American history, but it’s also the second-heaviest pumpkin ever grown in the world. It weigh in only 96 pounds less than the holder of that title, a pumpkin grown in Germany in 2016 by a Belgian man.
Here is Geddes with the fruit of his labor (and yes, pumpkins are, in fact, a fruit!):
“I was pleased,” Geddes told Concord Monitor of his record-breaking pumpkin. “I knew right away it was the second biggest ever. When you’re involved, you know what’s been grown and what hasn’t been grown.”
As you might imagine, a lot goes into cultivating such a large pumpkin. Geddes started with the Dill Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Seed, a popular choice among competitive growers. He installed heating cables to warm the soil and hand-pollinated the female plant and planted it directly into the ground. The pumpkin gained as much as 52 pounds per day over the summer.
Woody Lancaster has more than 25 years of pumpkin-growing experience and serves as the northeast representative for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an organization that acts as the worldwide governing body for competitive pumpkin-growing. Lancaster was quite impressed with Geddes’ accomplishment, calling it a “big deal.”
As for what inspires growers to get into the competition, Lancaster said it is multi-faceted.
“It’s many things,” Lancaster explained to The Boston Globe. “It’s seeing something the size of your thumbnail grow into a 2,000-pound fruit. It’s the challenge. It’s the joy of accomplishment. And more than anything, it’s the people.”