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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Great Pumpkin

Even though Montana might not be the pumpkin capital or a huge contributor to our agricultural economy in many states, its big business. Believe it or not, 90% of the pumpkins grown in the United States are raised within a 90 mile radius of Peoria, Illinois. The town of Morton, is the self- proclaimed Pumpkin Capital of the world, where 85% of world’s pumpkin is canned by Libby’s processing plant. And speaking of pumpkins the newest record pumpkin just topped the scales at a whopping 2,058 pounds.

Pumpkin growing competition is a fierce sport with some serious dollars being traded. The recent article from Lisa Freedman with TODAY reported Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park in San Martin, California, Peter and Cindi Glasier had reason to celebrate Saturday: After 30-some years of professional pumpkin farming, they finally took home their first official record — the heaviest pumpkin ever grown in America.
Unlike some growers, the Glasiers don’t weigh their pumpkins ahead of time; they like to be surprised. Even so, Cindi told, "we knew that our pumpkin was definitely a contender." It turned out to be more than that: At 2,036 pounds and measuring nearly 20 feet in circumference, it was the champion. Total prize for the 120-day-old colossus: $7 per pound, which comes out to $14,252.

Unfortunately for the Glasiers, that wasn't the last weigh-in of the season. On Monday, at the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival in California, John Hawkley stole their record with 2,058 pounds. But at least the Glasiers have one consolation: Though Hawkley now holds the U.S. record, he didn’t rake in quite as much money as they did. He received $6 per pound ($12,348), plus a bonus $1,000 for the biggest pumpkin from California, meaning that the Glasiers out-earned him by more than $900.