Home of the world's largest . . .
That's right, folks. New York City has its historic Empire State Building, Central New York its scenic Thousand Islands, Western New York its world-famous Niagara Falls—all magnificent New York State attractions that must be seen by all, but in October, 1993 such famous landmarks became mere sideshows when a humongous pumpkin, reared right here in pea-sized Winthrop, gained fame to the title of the largest pumpkin ever grown in the world. The coveted gourd award went to Mr. Donald Black, of Winthrop, whose colossal cucurbit weighed in at an astounding 884 pounds! The gourd was so large that county officials reportedly considered confiscating it, gutting it, and utilizing it as a new county lock-up facility.
Reporters attending the World Pumpkin Confederation's official weigh-off were unable to elicit any pumpkin-fattening secrets from the tight-lipped Mr. Black, who has taken growing garden leviathans to a high art. Atlantic Giant pumpkin growers—not your garden-variety horticulturists—are known to go to extreme lengths to conceal their pumpkin arcana from the prying eyes of neighbors and competitors. High-voltage fences, guard dogs, and sophisticated alarm systems are just a few of the pumpkin patch security measures that Cucurbita pepo growers employ to maintain that competitive edge at the world class level. Mr. Black's world record, alas, lasted only a year when in 1995, Herman Vax, of Brockville, Ontario, hoisted to the scales a bloated behemoth weighing an earth-shaking 990 pounds!—just shy of the magic 1000 pound barrier.
That barrier, however, considered among the pumpkin grower elite to be the holy grail of gourd growing, was ceremoniously breached just one year later by a major appliance-sized pumpkin entered by Bill greer, a Picton, Ontario grower. Today the world record is owned by Nathan and Paula Zehr of Lowville, NY, whose dumpster-sized pumpkin tipped the scales at a whopping 1,061 pounds!
Winthrop congratulates you, Donald Black, for the pumpkin publicity!
For those of you interested in delving further into pumpkinetics, click on the following link: (be sure to see the Philadelphia Inquirer article on Donald Black, titled 1000 Pounds, or Pie!)
World Class Pumpkin Home Page