The Suitcase Lady


October 31, 2012, 12:42 am

If there is one thing America excels at, it is excess. Super-sized sodas, burgers, living room couches, stretch limos, you name it, our fair nation can super-size it. Pumpkins are no exception.

Competitive pumpkin growing has become a huge sport in the last fifteen years. The kings of the Great Pumpkin field are the father and son team Dick and Ron Wallace from Rhode Island. This dedicated duo has been toiling for years to smash (a scary word in the pumpkin business) the world records.

The first All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off began at the Topsfield, Massachusetts, Fair in 1984. The largest pumpkin weighed in at 433 pounds, and the farmer got $100. An Alaskan grower with timed heaters and a greenhouse grew the first 1,000 pound pumpkin in 2000. In 2006, Ron Wallace’s super squash hit the scales at 1,500 pounds at the Topsfield Fair. Nine growers beat Ron’s record in 2007 and the race was on to grow the first one ton pumpkin. But could it be done?

From a small seed to 2000 pounds in one growing season is a lot to ask of Mother Nature. Could the pumpkin structurally support itself? Root rot, foaming stump slime, hungry deer and groundhogs are but a few of the ever present perils to pumpkin success. The bad news is that only 50 per cent of the super size pumpkins survive to maturity. The good news is that once the pumpkin starts growing, slow growing is an amazing one pound an hour.

The 2012 Topsfield Fair was the last weekend in September. Ron Wallace was there with his pampered, well-fed pumpkin and high hopes. His entry was named The Freak II. The fork lift raised the giant squash to the scale and the needle started going up… 2009 pounds. History was made.

Ron Wallace received $10,000 for growing the first one ton pumpkin, $5,000 for first place and an orange ribbon.

Congratulations, Ron. What can possibly come next?


3 Comments for this entry

  • eve

    It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
    And Mary, I agree with your observations on “big.”
    What really amazes me are those supermarket
    shopping carts; they’re the size of a Volkswagen!
    What would the French do if we showed up at a super-
    marche in one of those??? (The ones that hold two
    kids, I mean.)

  • Mary

    Eve! I agree with you about the shopping carts that can hold a small elephant. Our store does have a few petite ones, but they are always out in the parking lot or hidden in some corner. I always go on a search for one!

  • Marco

    Now Ron Wallace has grown a pumpkin that reached this impressive figure, he could go for 2200 pounds to reach the super-sized European ton. At 1000 kilograms it is 10% bigger. (Who would have thought that…)