ROCHESTER – Weighing in at 1,975 pounds, a pumpkin grown by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island beat last year's Rochester Fair's winner by 75 pounds.
Wallace beat Farmington grower Hiram Watson's 1,900-pounder, earning himself the grand prize of $2 per pound, or $3,950. While Wallace walked away with the prize this year, Watson still holds the record for biggest New Hampshire pumpkin, as the fruit has to be grown in-state to break state records.
Wallace said he has been growing giant pumpkins and showing them for 26 years.
“My father got into this first,” said Wallace, who farms under the name Wallace Organic Wonder. “I like Halloween and this is a good way to get involved and take the pumpkins to many places. My biggest won a world record, at 2,009. It was exhibited in New York City.”
Jim Beauchemin, competition announcer, said the current world champion pumpkin, weighing more that 2,300 pounds, was grown in Switzerland. The Goffstown resident had an entry, too. His pumpkin weighed 1,185 pounds.
“Actually, it is the seeds that are the most valuable,” Wallace said. “Growers trade them with each other to create new strains of giants. They are a special breed and reach their huge size in a mere 90 days.”
Watson's entry this year tipped the scales at 1,250 pounds. “It takes a lot of care to grow these,” he said. “When they are really growing, they can add 25 to 50 pounds each day. They need a lot of room.”
New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association members served as judges except for member Barry LeBlanc, who had an 1,100-pound entry.
“Deflategate” made its way into the competition. Beauchemin's pumpkin, instead of growing round, was sort of flat. He named it “Deflategate,” spoofing the NFL’s deflated football scandal, and said the reason for its flatness was “still under investigation.”
Norm Gansert of Rhode Island won the Howard Dill Award for prettiest pumpkin,with his weighing 851 pounds. The award is given in honor of Howard Dill, a Nova Scotia grower who invented the genetics for giant pumpkins.
By Ronald Wallace
on September 24, 2015