Saturday, October 24, 2015

Big Earl--- 2015's Big Pumpkin

Now that's a big pumpkin!
Believe it or not, we might take for granted that some of the largest pumpkins ever grown have graced center stage here at Valley View Farms. Take this year's gargantuan orange orb; it's 1543 pound mass isn't the largest we've ever had.
Big Earl, front and center
 It is probably the best looking, brightest orange big pumpkin we have had in years. It's when we see the looks of wonder and awe on peoples faces that we remember just what it took to grow, harvest, ship and display Big Earl. The fact that four other large pumpkins look diminished in size (two weighing in at over a half ton) next to Big Earl is fascinating.

The questions we get are fun:

How many years did it take to grow a pumpkin of these huge proportions? One season. Most were probably started indoors in late spring then moved outside as the danger of frost subsided. Big Earl grew fast once the plant rooted well in the garden. When a Baltimore Sunpaper's reporter  asked how fast, the pumpkin grower said 900 pounds in just the month of August.

Where do the giant pumpkins come from? Groups gather around the country to celebrate all things pumpkin. Weigh-offs are held in several regions of the United States and the world. Valley View Farms past-president and founder Bill Foard is able to purchase the pumpkins directly from the growers. He has told me that I'm only allowed to say "up the river" when asked where the pumpkins were grown. But, Google can probably pinpoint where the biggest are harvested.
Yes, Billy knows how to grow pumpkins and other vegetables

How many seeds are in a big pumpkin? Sorry, I can't divulge that answer, even if I knew. We have a contest going on where people have to guess how many seeds the big pumpkin does have.
Tom Tasslemyer gets help from his family

On Halloween Day, we will cut the pumpkin open. Chief WBAL Meteorologist Tom Tasselmyer will count each individual seed. The winner of the contest gets a $300.00 gift card.
The demolition crew is in charge of opening up the big pumpkin

What happens to the pumpkins after Halloween? We cut up all the remaining pumpkins and dispose of "the bodies". Seeds are extracted, dried on window screens, and sent back to the grower so that he or she may have a better chance of growing large pumpkins again next year.
Pumpkin guts!
Has Valley View Farms ever had the largest pumpkin in the world? Yes, back in 1989, we had the world record holder. Though the pumpkin was unnamed, it was grown by Mr. Gordon Thompson. We heard that news of the pumpkin, then a mere 755 pounds, was broadcast worldwide.

Fall is the perfect time to celebrate our garden's harvest. And what harvest is more awe-inspiring than a behemoth pumpkin. Come on out and take a look at Big Earl. Bring the kids and the camera. There's lots to see.

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