Tuesday, October 3, 2017

William C Goard

The Great Pumpkin arrived at Valley View Farms and will remain on display from Wednesday, September 27 until Saturday, October 28. This year, Valley View Farm's owner Andy named the gargantuan pumpkin after his father and Valley View Farm's co founder, William C Foard, (known as Goard during this pumpkin season.)
Wild Bill from Cockeysville, October 2016
I can still hear Billy say over the phone, "that's Foard; F-o-A-r-d." Billy was also called Wild Bill from Cockeysville; both names will be on the pumpkin's display stage.
I don't know how long Billy and Andy have made their mission to get a giant pumpkin to celebrate fall and to bring some publicity to the garden center in Cockeysville. Back in 1989 , Billy had managed to get the World Record Pumpkin that year grown by Gordon Thompson and weighing in at 755 pounds. It was huge! We saw reports on the pumpkin all over the local news. My cousins on the west coast watched a report in their home state of California. We were even on TV as far away as Japan. The goal to garner publicity for the garden center was a success. People came from all over to see the pumpkin, picked out smaller versions from our displays, sipped on apple cider and gathered mums and other fall decorations for their homes.
Since then, we have hosted larger pumpkins, including one weighing in at over 1700 pounds. Andy began naming the pumpkins several years ago.
Cool Tim with Cool Moose

Goard brothers with Cool Moose 2016
Copius Gus, Gourdzilla, Rolling Thunder (the sound of the pumpkin in the back of one of our large trucks), Sasquash, Big Earl, and Cool Moose have all taken center stage.  This year's orange orb weighs in at 1536 pounds. Several others will join William C. Goard on display for the next month.
We get a kick out of people entering the contest to guess the number of seeds in the pumpkin. Tom Tasslemyer, WBAL's Chief meteorologist, counts the seeds on October 28th.
Tom and Billy a few years ago
Once the seeds are counted, we will look through the book for entries to see who's guess will win the $300 gift card for 1st prize and the subsequent guesses that will win $200 and $100 gift cards. Guesses range from 10 to millions of seeds.
The farmers and growers of the big pumpkins will get their seeds back to help them grow an award winner again next year. Bill always painstakingly cleaned all the seeds, spaced them out on a large cookie sheet or screen to air dry, and then carefully packed the seeds to return to the growers.
 Billy left quite a legacy at Valley View Farms. Andy's naming of the Great Pumpkin after his dad and business partner is a fitting tribute to the man.