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The Quest for the Great Pumpkin How Teamwork, Sharing Knowledge, and Alliances are creating the World Largest Pumpkins.

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Presentation on theme: "The Quest for the Great Pumpkin How Teamwork, Sharing Knowledge, and Alliances are creating the World Largest Pumpkins."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Quest for the Great Pumpkin How Teamwork, Sharing Knowledge, and Alliances are creating the World Largest Pumpkins

2 Global Competition to Grown the Giant Pumpkin Obesity Triumphs: Pumpkins have tripled in weight in the last 25 years The ONE TON Pumpkin will arrive in a few years Maddison Harder, 3, climbs on Joel Holland's prize-winning-record, 1,229-pound Atlantic Giant pumpkin at the annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Monday, Oct. 10, 2005. The pumpkin is 3 feet, 9 inches high. He wins $6,145 for his efforts, at $5 per pound. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma) Simon McKim, 2, of Rehobeth, Mass., checks out the 1,443 pound champion pumpkin grown by Scott Palmer of Coventry, R.I., at the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off in Warren, R.I., on Monday, Oct. 10, 2005. Palmer's pumpkin set a new New England record, just 3 pounds shy of the World Record held by a Canadian from Ontario.

3 The Great Pumpkin Story: 2005 1,443-Pound Pumpkin Wins Competition By Sara Blask, Karen McCabe and other news reports October 11, 2005, Warren, RI ‘Tis the season. The super-sized pumpkin season. Scott Palmer took top honors at the 12th annual Rhode Island Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Championship yesterday with a behemoth entry weighing 1,443 pounds, making it the third heaviest pumpkin ever weighed. Palmer was one of 33 entrants in yesterday’s contest held at Frerichs Farm in Warren, Rhode Island. Weigh-off competitions are held in the United States, Canada, Germany, and Japan. Entrants arrive at the farm on “weigh day,” lugging their oversize fruit in on trucks and trailers, where a forklift awaits the pumpkin’s arrival as if it’s royalty. From there, the pumpkins are placed in a ring and then weighed by a certified technician. “Best day of my life. I got my family here, helped me grow it all year, what else is there to say?” Palmer, a welder, told the Associated Press. A $3,500 check made Palmer’s victory all the sweeter. “It’s really family-oriented, this sport of pumpkin growing,” said David Frerichs, owner of Frerichs Farm, “There are many inter-family competitions, as well as husband and wife competitions. Usually the rule is that the other person has to buy dinner. I think the wife won this year.” Frerichs estimates that the entrants’ pumpkins weighed a combined total of ten tons. Competitors can use a tape measure to approximate the weight of the pumpkin but are forbidden from weighing their pumpkin before the contest. Palmer missed the world record by a mere three pounds. A 1,446-pound pumpkin was grown last year by Al Eaton in Ontario, Canada. “Guys all over the country will now want some Scotty Palmer seeds,” Frerichs said. Steven Sperry of Johnston Rhode Island was the 2004 giant winner with a 1,253-pound pumpkin, and Fred Macari of Coventry, R.I., placed second with a 1,173.4-pound pumpkin. Some giant-pumpkin growers spend thousands of dollars and some spend a few hundred on what many refer to as their obsession. Its roots may have begun in Canada, with a man named Howard Dill, and the craze appears to have spread from Canada to Australia and almost every continent in between over the past 20 years Most prized pumpkins are Atlantic Giants, developed by Howard Dill, a farmer in Nova Scotia, about 30 years ago. The seeds, now cultivated on 20 acres, are distributed by more than 50 seed companies worldwide. They are sold on the Internet at ''It's just amazing to me how this has taken off," Dill, 71, said by telephone from Nova Scotia. ''People all over the world dedicate their whole growing season to this.“ Although somewhere along the line a Dill seed got them growing, giant pumpkins can also be grown from the seeds of a past giant gourd. Growers scoop out seeds, dry them, and plant them the next season. Cross- pollination has also led to pumpkins tripling in weight since Howard Dill himself set a world record with a 438.5-pound pumpkin in 1979 in Philadelphia. Pumpkins thrive on organic matter. While there is no contest ban on artificial fertilizers, pumpkins grow best with cow manure, compost, and seaweed as fertilizer. Growing a giant pumpkin requires a lot of time, patience, and money. From April to September, growers spend as much as 50 hours a week fertilizing, weeding, pruning, and adding as much as 50 gallons of water a day in August, the peak growing season, when the pumpkins can gain 35 to 40 pounds a day or more, growers said. Farmers often track the pedigree of their pumpkins by figuring out where their seeds originated. In fact, people often auction their big pumpkin seeds on the Web site,, which aims “to promote the exciting sport/hobby of giant pumpkin growing by helping new comers get started.” The challenge to grow giant pumpkins is time consuming, intensive and rewarding but can sometimes be downright disappointing. "There‚s a lot of luck involved, and my family and I have been extremely lucky," Daignault, winner of the Topsfield contest said, "You can do everything right and things can still go wrong." His family has had pumpkins rot from the inside from too much watering. One hailstorm can destroy a season’s work; too much rain won’t leave enough time to fertilize, and drastic changes in the weather can cause the pumpkins to split and explode.

4 The Quest for the Great Pumpkin Innovation can be a Back Yard Affair It’s about Co-opetition! WARREN*, Rhode Island Dick Wallace, director for the Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Association (SNEGPGA), said there is "quite a contingency of growers in Rhode Island." Wallace said the SNEGPGA works with a goal for the common club. He described the group as being "like a band of brothers," but added that each member has to do their own work in their patches. However, if a grower is in trouble, they have other members who are willing to help out. Wallace said the SNEGPGA had members competing in individual competition but said they also compete as a club against other Giant Pumpkin clubs. The 12th Annual Rhode Island Giant Pumpkin Growers Championship, held at Frerichs Farm in Warren, was the number one weigh-off of 26 sites worldwide under the Giant Pumpkin Community banner. According to Wallace, this year's weigh-off in Warren broke the world record for the average of the top 10 pumpkins' weights with a mean of 1,174.8 pounds. He said the top 10 included one pumpkin over 1,400 pounds, three over 1,300 pounds and "a couple" over 1,200 pounds. Scott Palmer, winner of this year’s contest, said he met Wallace three years ago and that one of the first things the director did was sit with him in his garden and show him what he needed to do to grow giant pumpkins. "I'll never forget any of that stuff," Palmer said. He said members often visit and help one another and described the group as close-knit. Palmer said that the SNEGPGA had worked hard all year holding fund raisers and that Wallace and other directors have brought the club to "another level.“ The Ipswich Bay Pumpkin Growers, a group formed last year by a handful of growers from Ipswich and Topsfield, regularly get together. Their official uniform is a denim shirt with a pumpkin logo. They swap seeds and planting tips. They talk about the newest fertilizers, and lament high water bills. They also are pumpkin ambassadors, hosting picnics for members of the New England Pumpkin Growers Association,, a group of about 140 members, based in New Hampshire. They go on peeping tours of each other's patches. And on the day before the Topsfield Fair, they use a homemade crane-and-pulley, to help each other hoist the giant orbs into pickup trucks. And then it's off to the fair. ''There aren't that many people interested in growing world-class pumpkins," said Lancaster, 59, an eight-year grower, whose 1,100-pounder placed eighth at the Topsfield Fair. ''We all pretty much help each other. Growers are typically not professional farmers, but average people who work other jobs and use small acreage plots to grow their pumpkins as a hobby. * Warren is the Smallest Town in the Smallest County in the Smallest State in the US

5 What you BELIEVE affects the OUTCOME





10 2006: World Largest Pumpkin! 1502 lbs Ron Wallace from Scituate, Rhode Island

11 2006 - Ron Wallace and his 1502 pound World Record! See the collection of photos submitted... Created on 10/14/2006 ----- Last updated on 10/14/2006 2005 - Larry Checkon and his 1,469 pound World Record! See the collection of photos submitted... Created on 10/1/2005 ----- Last updated on 10/3/2005 2004 - Al Eaton and his 1,446 pound World Record! See the collection of photos submitted... Updated with Scott Cully's carvings... Created on 10/11/2004 ----- Last updated on 11/12/2004 2003 - Steve Daletas and his 1,385 pound World Record! See the collection of photos submitted... Created on 10/5/2003 ----- Last updated on 10/5/2003 2002 - Charlie Houghton and his 1337.6 pound World Record See the collection of photos submitted... Created on 10/31/2002 ----- Last updated on 10/31/2002 2001 - Geneva Emmons and her 1262 pound World Record See the collection of photos submitted... Created on 10/14/2001 ----- Last updated on 10/14/2001 2000 - Dave Stelts and his 1140 pound World Record See the collection of photos submitted... Created on 10/10/2000 ----- Last updated on 10/10/2000 2006 - Ron Wallace and his 1502 pound World Record! 2005 - Larry Checkon and his 1,469 pound World Record! 2004 - Al Eaton and his 1,446 pound World Record! 2003 - Steve Daletas and his 1,385 pound World Record! 2002 - Charlie Houghton and his 1337.6 pound World Record 2001 - Geneva Emmons and her 1262 pound World Record 2000 - Dave Stelts and his 1140 pound World Record

12 1,502.00 Wallace, Ron Greene Rhode Island United States 1,450.00 Wallace, Dick Greene Rhode Island Most championship pumpkin growers plant in April with special seeds, keeping them warm in the first weeks and then gorging the squash with water and sunlight. Many are of the Atlantic Giant species (cucurbita maxima) and can gain more than a pound of weight every hour in the months before being picked. Some of the growers spend hours every day tending to their pumpkins, which can thrive on plots as small as 500 square feet. Holland, who toted a video camera during the contest, sells DVDs with his growing secrets and produces seeds that are coveted by other growers.


14 OK Charlie Brown, you have nothing to compare to Rhode Island’s giant pumpkin. On October 11, 2003, the State held its 10th annual giant pumpkin championship at Frerich’s Farm in Warren, RI. While rumors were being heard there might be a pumpkin grown right here in the Ocean State weighing over a half a ton, it was difficult to believe. Who could imagine a pumpkin weighing a 1000 pounds. When pumpkins were being unloaded for the weigh in, everyone in attendance was mesmerized by orange color and behemiths of pumpkins. Frerichs Farm provide a setting and aura for a spectacular fall day. The Farm provided hayrides, small pumpkin painting, and face painting for the children. Adults had the opportunity to purchase fall mums, sugar pumpkins, fresh vegetables, and visit the Christmas Shop. There was something for both young and older a like to enjoy. Nothing can compare in watching a young child or adult viewing their first site of a giant pumpkin. But the site of viewing a new Rhode Island record for a giant pumpkin is impossible to describe. In fact, has the Frerich’s tractor was ready to unload its new record pumpkin from a truck; it appeared this would be one unusual and difficult task. Finally, the tractor lifted the pumpkin out of the truck and suddenly appeared a beautiful huge bright orange pumpkin. Sometimes pumpkins may be large, but lack that bright orange color. It is important to note, a giant pumpkin must be a minimum of eighty percent orange. If a pumpkin is less than eighty percent orange, it is considered a squash. Rhode Island’s Giant Pumpkin Championship had over 40 entries. From large to larger, it was evident; Rhode Island was about to break a State record. A 1222.5 pound pumpkin grown by Joe Jutra of Scituate, RI took the new State record and this year’s Castellucci Cup. John Castellucci started the Rhode Island State Championship just ten years ago. The State named the Cup after him. Mr. Castellucci won the cup last year with a 951 pound pumpkin. Each year, the Castellucci Cup is forwarded and presented to the individual who grew the largest pumpkin in the State. No one ever dreamed, just ten years ago, Rhode Island would ever grow a pumpkin weighing over 1222 pounds. Now, the real question is, when will the Ocean State grow a giant pumpkin weighing more than 1500 pounds? Attend and watch next years Rhode Island Giant Pumpkin Championship at Frerich’s Farm on October 9, 2004. A new State record is more than likely to occur. Congratulations go out to all Rhode Island giant pumpkin growers for a great year. The Rhode Island Great Pumpkin Contest Results Rhode Island DEM Jan H. Reitsma, Director 235 Promenade St. Providence, RI 02908 Vol. 2, No. 3 Visit us at

15 According to Gail Damerow, author of The Perfect Pumpkin, competitive pumpkin growing got its start in 1893 when William Warnock of Goderivch, Ontario, Canada grew a 365-pound pumpkin. He broke his world record two more times, each time displaying his world record-breaking pumpkin at the World’s Fair. In 1905, Warnock wrote down the basics of growing colossal pumpkins, and these basics are still followed today by giant pumpkins growers 101 years later. Dill’s Atlantic Giant is the most popular pumpkin seed used by competitive growers.

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