Weighing in: Pumpkin Facts

One Ton Pumpkin!!!

Can you believe that?! We can't keep up with all these giant pumpkin records, so we're going to "lock in" the section below the line, culminating with world record pumpkin weighed in our state, Minnesota, in 2012. That record lasted just a year, and that record has been broken again in 2012 -- more than once! As of this writing, the largest pumpkin we are aware of is:

2,009 pounds!!!

That's about as much as one of those horses you can see on the home page.

It was grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, R.I., and weighed Sept. 28, 2012, at the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts, winning Wallace $5,500 for first place and $10,000 for breaking the one-ton mark.

New World Record Weighs-In in Minnesota!!!

Stillwater, Minnesota, was the setting for a new world record pumpkin, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010. Chris Stevens of New Richmond, Wiscsonsin, brought his baby to the Stillwater Harvest Fest, and it registered a new world record at 1,810.5 pounds.

That supplanted Christy Harp's 1,725 pound pumpkin weighed at the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers GPC weigh-off in Canfield, Ohio on October 3, 2009.

That had supplanted a 1,689 pound gourd grown by Joe Jutras in 2007, and weighed at the New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Topsfield, Mass. That had replaced the new record from 2006, a 1,502 pound giant grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, Rhode Island, and weighed on Oct. 7, 2006. To see the current record holder and past winners, go to http://www.pumpkinnook.com/giants/record.htm

We're not sure what the current Minnesota-grown record is, but a Minnesota record was set in 2008, when Chad Revier grew a 1,428 lbs. gourd. That beat the old state record of 1,258 lbs. Other state records include 2006: Bill Foss of Buffalo, MN, who weighed in with a 1,213 pound behemoth at a giant pumpkin weigh-off at Sun Country Farms, in Lake Elmo. That beat the previous record, set in 2002 by Jerry Johnson of Clearbuck, Minnesota, who grew a 1,083 pound giant, beating the previous state record by more than 200 pounds. Record pumpkin sizes have grown explosively. Back in 1996, the record Minnesota-grown pumpkin was a 722-1/2 pound beauty grown by Wayne Peters of Rochester

At the time we launched this website, no one had ever grown a 1,000 lb. pumpkin. But in 1996, Paula and Nathan Zehr of Lowville, N.Y., grew a pumpkin that weighed in at a record-setting 1,061 pounds!

The Zehrs won a $50,000 prize for being the first to grow a pumpkin heavier than 1,000 pounds. The old record had been an 836 pound pumpkin grown in Canada in 1993.

Since then, 1,000 lb. pumpkins have become "common."

Maybe someday there really will be a pumpkin as heavy as a cow.

The town of Circleville, Ohio, has held an annual Pumpkin Show since 1903. They have pumpkin royalty and everything! Check it out at http://www.pumpkinshow.com/

What is a pumpkin? A pumpkin is a kind of squash, and a member of the gourd family. Technically, the pumpkin itself is a fruit, although we use it as a vegetable in our cooking.

Pumpkin seeds are planted in groups called hills. The pumpkins are green or yellow when they are immature. They are not harvested until the skin is orange and tough, about 120 days after seeding, and they must be picked before a heavy frost occurs.

Pumpkins grow on vines which crawl along the ground. Melons, cucumbers, zucchini and gourds also grow on vines.

Pumpkins have been around a long time. Pumpkin seeds dating back to 7,000 B.C. have been found in caves in Mexico. Pumpkins were eaten in Africa, China and India in the 6th century.

Among the first to raise pumpkins were the American Indians. They cut pumpkins into rings and dried them to keep during the winter.

Pumpkin has been made into soups, stews, bread, pickles, pies, puddings, ice cream, and even beer or ale!

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, Jerry Ayers carved a ton of pumpkins in a record-setting 7 hours, 11 minutes on Oct. 16, 1999, at Kickman Farms in Ohio. Each pumpkin featured eyes, ears, a nose, mouth and eyebrows.

Some books about pumpkins, or with pumpkin themes:

"It's a Fruit, It's a Vegetable, It's a Pumpkin"
by Allan Fowler, Children's Press, Chicago, 1995

"The Pumpkin Patch"
by Elizabeth King, Dutton Childrens Books, New York

"The Pumpkin Fair"
by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Eileen Christelow, Clarion Books, New York, 1997

"Pumpkin Soup"
by Helen F. Cooper, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 1999

"The Great Pumpkin Switch"
by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Ted Lewin, Orchard Books, New York, 1992