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Giant 470.5-pound gourd grown in Sharon; grower says it set a world record

Ward's Berry Farm employee Michaela Scabia placed her arms around the 470.5 pounds gourd.
Ward's Berry Farm employee Michaela Scabia placed her arms around the 470.5 pounds gourd.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

A Sharon man said he broke a Guinness World Record after his 30-year-long passion project of growing giant pumpkins paid off with a 470.5-pound bushel gourd.

Steve Connolly started growing giants after becoming fascinated with them during a visit to the Topsfield Fair. Over the past four years, he shifted his focus to perfecting bushel gourd growing.

“Well for me, it’s always a goal to grow the biggest and the best in all the land,” Connolly said.

Guinness World Records will confirm the success or failure of the record attempt within 12 to 15 weeks, Media Representative Amanda Marcus said Tuesday.

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The massive gourd is being loaned to Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon for display.

Bushel gourds are the colorful species that can be purchased at grocery stores in the fall, but his crops are supercharged with organic fertilizers and extra attention, he said.

“I take 600-square-feet of land, and I let just one gourd grow," he said. “It really gives these things the best chance in the world to succeed."

Connolly typically grows four crops at a time at his home farm, tending to them about three hours every morning before he heads to his day job as an engineer at Johnson & Johnson.

In 2018, the world’s heaviest bushel gourd was documented in Allardt, Tennessee at 384 pounds, 8 ounces, Guinness World Records said in an email.

“Normally, you break records by 5 or 10 pounds - you just kinda incrementally go up,” Connolly said. “Well, this thing took a quantum leap up unexpectedly. It was very much a pleasant surprise when I saw the weight.”

People interested in buying seeds for giants can contact Connolly at pumpconn@msn.com.