You've gotta grow them big - or don't bother competing. In greenhouses and gardens in Canada, the US and Europe, gardeners and hobby growers began pollenating tiny Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds in March and April, in the hopes that they would, months later, tip the scale at a record breaking weight. The watering and fertilizing is all done. Nothing to do now but haul their humongous babies to the annual weigh ins. In the Ottawa Valley, Hugli's Berry Farm outside Pembroke is one of fifty official sites that weigh and record the weight of Giant Pumpkins. It's been done here for eleven years. It happened on Saturday, Sept. 24th. Nine growers faced off against each other. What I learned is that they are a fraternity, these growers. They know each other, know their methods and compete against each other every year. They don't let on, at least not publicly, but I could tell they are a cut throat bunch. Winning that first place ribbon for the heaviest pumpkin is what drives them. They say it's "friendly competition" but I watched their faces when their "babies" were placed ever so gently on the scale and the numbers start to climb.
I also learned you need a ton of patience to attend a pumpkin weigh in. The scale has to be perfectly calibrating. So, it's the pumpkin that has to be moved, and that has to be done carefully to ensure it isn't dropped or cracked in the process. The bottom of each is even swept to make sure a little "dust or dirt" doesn't skew the result.
It took about three hours to weigh nine giants.
When it was all over, the winning weight was One thousand, Four hundred and seven pounds, (1,407 pounds) , by Todd Kline of Shawville, Quebec. That's a pretty good weight, given that it was such a dry summer. It's a far cry though from the current world record holder that belongs to Beni Meier of Switzerland. He won the title in Oct. 2014 for a massive pumpkin that weighed Two Thousand three hundred and twenty three pounds. (2,323 pounds)
There's always next year boys.