Halloween season of course means pumpkins, and if possible, the bigger the better!
The largest pumpkins are Cucurbita maxima. They were cultivated from the hubbard squash genotype, crossed with kabocha-pumpkin types by enthusiast farmers through intermittent effort since the early 1800s.
Weigh-off competitions for giant pumpkins are a popular fall festival activity. It’s hard to believe that just 30 years ago, 460 pounds was the world record for the largest pumpkin until Howard Dill (of Nova Scotia) broke the record in 1981 with an almost 500 pound pumpkin. Dill patented the seeds as Dill’s Atlantic Giant and he’s really the father of all the giant pumpkins today, most of which are borne from crossing and re-crossing his patented seed with other varieties. In 1994, the Giant Pumpkindom passed the 1,000-pound mark and the current record is from September 2007, when Joe Jutras of Rhode Island whelped a 1,689-pound monster!
Michigan’s largest this year (pictured right) was 1489 pounds, grown by Ken Sweet of Washington, Michigan. It was carved by Frankfort master carver Ed Moody. Speaking of Frankfort & pumpkins, here’s a video from a few years back showing who wins when giant pumpkin meets car! As promised, here’s the pumpkin slideshow from the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr!
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