The Big Pumpkin has arrived! Every year Dan Schantz Greenhouse goes in search for the biggest pumpkin grown in Pennsylvania. Why? Because it's fun, actually. How often does the public get to see a massive "ton" of cucurbit flesh, surrounded in a warped blob of a shell?
The process of growing a giant pumpkin is not unlike raising a child. It has to be tended to every single day throughout it's growing season.
Here's one site that has some info on how to grow a giant pumpkin (if you are wishing to become a contestant)
It needs to be shaded, fed, moved (so the vines don't get tangled) sprayed and nerve racking painstakingly cared for night and day (well, maybe the night thing isn't true, but it's a constant source of worry every day).
Lots of people try growing these huge pumpkins for the sheer delight of knowing they can. Many experienced farmers get so far into the season- only to have a drought or a sudden blast of wet weather. Or a virus happens- or the pumpkin just simply dies (and rots) a horrible death, alone in a field.
So when a giant behemoth actually DOES make it to the Pumpkin Weigh Off event ( Pennsylvania's is in Altoona, around the 7th of October) it's a really, really big deal. There's prize money to be won, lots of notoriety, names in the paper, TV stations come- it's a big day for the happy growers. It becomes a challenge to see "who grew the biggest one".
We don't grow giant pumpkins, just lots of regular ones. But we still enjoy the search for the biggest one we can get our hands on. (And yes, we pay for the pumpkin.)
So off it goes, out of the Weigh Off contest and onto a flat bed trailer- traveling down the highway- to the PA Turnpike, down 78 and over to Lehigh Street (about a 210 mile journey) to our humble store. There, it is hugged, photographed and rubbed by literally thousands of folks, just wanting to catch a glimpse of it. We've had large ones in our days- but this one right now is probably the biggest. At least the largest one we've seen in a long, long time.
The husband and wife team who grew this massive beast was grown by Dave and Carol Stelts, from Enon Valley. A whopping 1,632 pounder! Read more about it HERE.
If you're curious, the biggest pumpkin ever grown in Pennsylvania was recorded in 2015. "The record was 2020.25 pounds by Quinn Werner in 2015 in Saegertown, Pennsylvania."
The largest pumpkin ever grown in the world remains in Germany. For the second time in 3 years, the world record for giant pumpkins has fallen at the European Weigh-Off in Germany. German grower Mathia Willemijn brought this behemoth pumpkin weighing 2,624.6 pounds to the weigh-off on October 9, 2016.
Here are some photos of our recent previous Big Pumpkins we've had the pleasure of meeting:
The Giant Pumpkin will be on display until November 1, 2017. Come back next year to see what we get! Happy Fall!