This very day a record-breaking pumpkin weighed in at the contest in Half Moon Bay in Northern California. It weighed 2,058 pounds, which is not even as big as the world record set yesterday in Germany. But it currently holds the record for the heaviest pumpkin in North America.
Mr. Glad and I certainly haven’t been keeping up with the pumpkin competitions. I only heard about this one on the classical radio station on the way home from the dentist this afternoon, and I don’t recall news of another pumpkin recently. But now I have learned that until last year no one had broken the one-ton barrier, and about 15 years ago 1,000 pounds was the biggest you could expect in a prize pumpkin. What can they be feeding them nowadays? Or maybe it’s the hybridizing of the seed.
Only once did anyone in our family enter a contest like this; it was Kate in ’98, and in this picture she is smiling in spite of the fact that I had stupidly broken the stem of her potential prize before it was half-grown. You are supposed to move the fruit to a pallet when it is small, and let it grow huge there, so it will still be easy to transport if it gets to be a few hundred pounds.
What I didn’t anticipate was the way the stem when lying on the damp soil is likely to send down roots, and Kate’s had done just that. The roots were stronger than the stem, so Snap! it went, and “Oh, no!” I went. I never could figure out how she could be so philosophical about it. She loved her pumpkin anyway, even if it wasn’t any good for entering the local contest. Probably it never turned orange.
These giant pumpkins are all very well and good — I guess. They are freaks, though, aren’t they? That prize-winner in the photo reminds me of Jabba the Hutt. They must be good for feeding to livestock, but in general I think that smaller is better. No tasty sugar-pie pumpkin would care about getting so big it couldn’t even squeeze into the kitchen.