TORRINGTON – The Goshen County Master Gardeners hosted a pumpkin weighing competition at the farmers’ market at City Park on Thursday, Oct 7.
Roberta Luke and Sheila Muhlenkamp organized the sixth annual event, but this year’s location was a change.
“Usually, we have it on someplace else, but we decided to do it with the farmer’s market,” Luke said. “We’ve had it out at the extension office and we had it out at the fairgrounds.”
This year, there were five contestants in the children’s division. Luke said they donated a lot of seed throughout the year and some of the contestants’ pumpkins came from them.
“We’ve been handing out seed for a while and so this is some of the product of what we handed out,” Luke said.
The seeds originally came from a few professional pumpkin growers in the area including Andy Corbin who won the state competition last year with a 1,400-plus pound pumpkin.
There are many tricks and techniques to growing a giant pumpkin, but Muhelkamp said the most important is to start early.
“One important thing is to start early,” Muhlenkamp said. “Don’t wait until you can put them outside.”
Luke added many growers will start the process inside or keep a tent over the pumpkin to shield it from harsh weather and critters.
While the Master Gardner’s contest is not a sanctioned event, it still provided a competition for local kids who spent the year growing pumpkins bigger than themselves.
Cason Carlson paced around his family’s truck with a trailer hitched to the back holding his massive pumpkin. Carlson knew his pumpkin weighed over 650 pounds and he was hopeful for a top three finish. Although the scale used to weigh the pumpkins had previously been broken, Luke and Muhlenkamp used an equation by measuring each pumpkin to give a close estimate of the weight. The calculation put Carlson’s pumpkin around 617 pounds, which was almost 100 pounds more than second place.
Carlson’s family gave him the good news as feelings of joy quickly replaced his nerves.
“It actually feels really good,” Carlson said.
In the future, Luke hopes to get a carver to carve some of the pumpkins to display in the center of town. This year however, Carlson’s plans for his prized pumpkin was to show it off at school to all of his friends.