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New Hampshire man grows record-breaking pumpkin; weighs in at 2,528 pounds

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 9/28/2018 By Emily Sweeney
Steve Geddes and his record-breaking pumpkin. © Paul Hanson/ AD4ce Media Steve Geddes and his record-breaking pumpkin.

A New Hampshire man broke a national record for the heaviest pumpkin at the Deerfield Fair in Deerfield, N.H., Thursday night.

Fair officials said the pumpkin grown by Steve Geddes of Boscawen, N.H., tipped the scales at a whopping 2,528 pounds, which earned him a first place ribbon, as well as $6,000 in prize money.

Geddes also won major bragging rights, as he currently owns the biggest pumpkin ever grown in North America.

“Ever, not just this year. Ever,” said Woody Lancaster, the northeast representative for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an organization that serves as the worldwide governing body for competitive pumpkin-growing. “It is a big deal.”

The current world record belongs to Mathias Willemijns, a Belgium man who grew a 2,624.6-pound behemoth in 2016, according to the Guinness World Records website.

That means Geddes grew the second-largest pumpkin in the world — which is quite a feat, according to Lancaster.

It takes months to grow these gargantuan gourds. Growers who plant their seeds in April tend to their pumpkins until the fall. The weigh-off season starts at the end of August and goes through October, and the competition can be tough.

“It’s our World Series,” said Lancaster, 72. “It’s our Super Bowl.”

Lancaster has more than 25 years of growing experience. What motivates him?

“It’s many things,” he said. “It’s seeing something the size of your thumbnail grow into a 2,000-pound fruit. It’s the challenge. It’s the joy of accomplishment. And more than anything, it’s the people.”

Right now, the pumpkin weigh-off season is in full swing.

When the New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off kicks off at the Topsfield Fair this afternoon, and growers from all over New England will converge to show off the fruits of their labor and compete for the coveted Topsfield Fair title.

Thirty-eight people registered to enter this year’s contest, according to Lancaster, who chairs the competition.

The Topsfield Fair pumpkin weigh-off is well-known among growers. It was there that history was made in 2012, when Ron Wallace of Greene, R.I., broke the world record and became the first person in the world to grow a 1-ton pumpkin.

Lancaster said Wallace has a good shot at breaking a Topsfield Fair record this year. But until the weigh-off is complete (it starts at 4 p.m.) and the winner is announced (at approximately 8 p.m.), it’s anybody’s guess.

“The pumpkins are still coming in,” he said.

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