Monday, September 30, 2013

Behind each great pumpkin, is a great pumpkin grower.

The journey to the scale with a giant pumpkin is the final step in a long journey from seed to scale. In the last few days, the growers were filled with worry and a bit of relief with each step they passed. The concern with loading a giant this big into a truck and taking it on a long (for some of our growers, very long) ride to the weigh off. The relief that the pumpkin made it into the truck, and made it to the weigh off. Another sigh of relief when it has made it off the truck and finally onto the scale. The moment that the growers have been thinking about since this time last year, is finally here.
Sale is ready.

Squash weighed first.
The giant squash weighed first, and weighed in at 685.5 pounds (grown by Box). Squash can not have any orange on them, and the judges check each one to make sure they truly are squash before weighing.

Next up were the giant pumpkins.

I will not reveal the weight of our first pumpkin because his grower very generously plans to donate it to charity (who will do a guess the weight contest). 

If you have been following my blog, you may recognize this giant. The Maydan white pumpkin (named Whitey) weighed in at 480.5 pounds. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to photograph this pumpkin from seed to scale.

Sweet's giant weighed in at 554 even.

Sweet also brought this amazing one with him. After the judges checked this possible squash, it was declared a pumpkin because it has white stripes (squash must be yellow, green or blue).  Both pumpkins were weighed and his higher weight one was officially recorded.

Sweet's official weight (the one that would count out of the two) was 564 pounds.

Box brought both a giant squash and a giant pumpkin---seeing someone arrive with two giants is really cool. His giant pumpkin weighed in at 776.

It was great to see a female grower in a male dominated event. Adams brought her pumpkin (named Snowflake) to the scale, and this giant weighed in at 794.5. 

 Spencer's pumpkin was a beautiful orange, and weighed in at 896 pounds.

Voglor's pumpkin was the first to break the 900 pound mark, weighing in at 938 pounds!

Our emcee, Paul Piorek, was awesome. He interviewed all the growers and kept the crowd excited to see a first pumpkin break the 1,000 pound mark.

The Giarusso pumpkin was one of my favorites. This pumpkin was grown on an island! The growers had to take the ferry with this giant to come to the weigh off, and since the ferry is on winter hours, they had to make the trip over to the mainland the night prior to the weigh off. I can only imagine what other ferry riders thought when they saw a truck with this giant boarding the ferry!

Giarusso's giant weighed in at 968.5 pounds! 

Lombardi's giant weighed in at 974 pounds. 

Another member of the Adams family grew his first pumpkin this year, and it weighed in at 981 pounds! This pumpkin traveled all the way from Syracuse to join us!

Rapunzel was the final pumpkin to come to the scale. We were so hopeful that a pumpkin would weigh in at over 1,000 pounds. Rapunzel did not disappoint.

Official scale reading...

Congratulations to Nick Huydic on growing the winner - a 1,290.5 pound giant pumpkin! Nick's pumpkin was grown in Connecticut and it was exciting to see a Connecticut pumpkin win Ridgefield's First Weigh Off.

These pumpkins will return home, and the seeds will be harvested from inside. Some seeds will be auctioned off (to read more about a seed auction, check out my blog post It all starts with a seed). The seeds are named based on the pumpkin they came from. So the seeds from Nick's winning pumpkin will be called the Huydic 1290.5 so growers will know they came from this giant.

Our emcee with the results.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off 2013

For the past few months, we have thought a lot about the pumpkin weigh off. I waited impatiently for it. It has always been a favorite event and to be a part of it's first event in a new location made it even more exciting for me.

It was the most perfect day, even more perfect than we could have hoped.

I arrived at the park, and the pumpkins, squash and long gourds began arriving.

Last minute trimming of the vine as the pumpkin was unloaded.

Thank you to all our sponsors who made this event possible.

Our carver got to work immediately. He had 2 pumpkins to carve.
Hoping some of our visitors decide to try giant pumpkin growing next year.

The bands and vendors were all amazing! 

Once all the pumpkins were in place, all were measure by measuring tape, it was time to start the weighing. They begin with those who measure (by measuring tape) smaller and move their way up to the ones that measured the biggest (measuring the biggest doesn't always mean weighing the heaviest--some weigh heavier than expected while others weigh lighter).

It was great to see such a big crowd cheering on all the giant pumpkins!

These two pumpkins came from seeds from one of the pumpkins at last year's weigh off. 

They check the bottom of every pumpkin to make sure they are solid.

This year was a challenging growing year. We had one of the rainiest Junes in history which made growing challenging. Everyone hoped for a pumpkin to break the 1,000 pound mark. Our final pumpkin did it!

Meet Rapunzel the 1,290.5 pound pumpkin (and her grower Nick).
Final results. Paul Piorek was an amazing emcee.

Craig Smith, the pumpkin carver, carved two pumpkins. The second pumpkin was about 150 pounds and he carved the names of all the children who came to the weigh off. 

I will be posting pictures of all the growers with their giant pumpkins, squash and long gourds.