A New Hampshire man broke a national record for the heaviest pumpkin at the Deerfield Fair in Deerfield, N.H., Thursday night, fair officials said.
The pumpkin grown by Steve Geddes of Boscawen, N.H., tipped the scales at a whopping 2,528 pounds, which earned him a first-place ribbon and $6,000 in prize money, officials said.
Geddes also won major bragging rights, as he currently owns the biggest pumpkin ever grown in North America.
“Ever, not just this year. Ever,” said Woody Lancaster, the northeast representative for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an organization that serves as the worldwide governing body for competitive pumpkin-growing. “It is a big deal.”
Lancaster confirmed that Geddes now holds the United States record.
The current world record belongs to Mathias Willemijns, a Belgian man who grew a 2,624.6-pound behemoth in 2016, according to the Guinness World Records website.
That means Geddes grew the second-largest pumpkin in the world — which is quite a feat, according to Lancaster.
It takes months to grow these gargantuan gourds. Growers who plant their seeds in April tend to their pumpkins until the fall. The weigh-off season starts at the end of August and goes through October, and the competition can be tough.
“It’s our World Series,” said Lancaster, 72. “It’s our Super Bowl.”
Lancaster has more than 25 years of growing experience. What motivates him?
“It’s many things,” he said. “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.”
Right now, the pumpkin weigh-off season is in full swing.
Growers from around New England converged at the Topsfield Fair on Friday for the All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Of the 34 pumpkins that were entered into that contest, Ron Wallace’s 2,114-pound gourd emerged victorious and set a fair record, said David Thomson, a spokesman for the fair.
The previous record for the fair was set in 2016 with a 2,075-pound pumpkin.
Wallace, 52, of Greene, R.I., has won twice before, in 2006 and 2012. His winning pumpkin in 2012 was 2,009 pounds and set a world record at the time, said Thomson. That year, he became the first person in the world to grow a 1-ton pumpkin.
Wallace, a retired country club manager who has owned his own organic fertilizer company for the last four years, grew eight giant pumpkins this season, said Thomson. Of that number, four survived, and he chose what he thought was the largest specimen to take to the fair, said Thomson.
“Most of these guys that do it . . . grow them in their own yard,” said Thomson.
Of Wallace, Thomson said, “He was thrilled.”
@Met_CindyFitz .— ❄️Henry Swenson🏂 (@HenrySwenson) September 28, 2018
Just in case you guys wanted to share this story, thought it was really cool. Last night at the Deerfield fair there was a new U.S record pumpkin weighed at 2528 pounds beating the previous one of 2363 pounds. It was grown by a grower of Steve geddes From N.H. pic.twitter.com/B2aSKqYsKp
Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.