Four enormous pumpkins boxed it out for first place at the Milton Farmers Market last Thursday evening, with a 220 pounder taking home the Great Pumpkin title. Christian Dymond won first place with his vibrant orange gourd, Macy MacBeth claimed second place with a 189 pound pumpkin, Leila MacBeth placed third at 149 pounds, and Charlotte Rose placed fourth at 86 pounds.
The Milton Recreation Department has been organizing the Great Pumpkin Contest since 2014. Awards are given to the first, second, third and fourth largest pumpkins. A cardinal rule for pumpkin growers is to grow a gourd with supple, unbroken skin. This means no cracks or holes—insect, rodent or otherwise—to ensure no cheating.
Growers have been known to use quirky techniques to increase the sizes of their pumpkins and speed up growth. Part of the method includes picking off smaller pumpkins around the prized pumpkin as it grows, in order to allocate as much growing power towards the great pumpkin as possible. The trick is choosing the right one.
Other methods include burying the vine except for the area near the pumpkin in question, so the vine grows roots. Some pitch tents over their pumpkins to decrease the chance of skin cracking; others place space heaters in their garden to prolong growing season.
The contest also includes a Best In Show weigh-in where notably large vegetables and plants, other than pumpkins, can win some praise.
According to the Milton Recreation Coordinator Kym Duchesneau, one year they saw a 30 pound cabbage. Another year, someone grew a six foot tall jalapeño plant.
This year, Duchesneau submitted a giant sunflower to the Best In Show weigh in, with a circumference of 38 inches. Winner of the first Great Pumpkin contest six years ago, Peter Lavallee, entered a zucchini he grew this year that weighed over two pounds.
First place: Christian Dymond (220 lbs)
Second place: Macy MacBeth (189 lbs)
Third place: Leila MacBeth (149 lbs)
Fourth place: Charlotte Rose (86 lbs)