One-ton California pumpkin weighs in as heaviest ever in North America

Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:11pm EDT
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(Reuters) - A one-ton pumpkin grown in Northern California has been declared the heaviest ever cultivated in North America, and an organization is arranging to fly the giant gourd to New York where it will be featured in a botanical garden.

The pumpkin, which was grown in Napa Valley north of San Francisco, was put on the scale on Monday at an event tied to the upcoming Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival and weighed in at 2,058 pounds (933 kg), said festival spokesman Tim Beeman.

The pumpkin is the heaviest ever grown in North America, beating a record set last year by another pumpkin from Napa Valley, said David Stelts, president of the nonprofit Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, which overseas competitions for the staple of Halloween and Thanksgiving.

The pumpkin will be flown to New York this week to be displayed in the city's Botanical Garden, along with two other massive pumpkins from different parts of the country, Stelts said. Plans are in the works for it to be shown on the syndicated morning program "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" on Thursday, he said.

John Hawkley, the Napa Valley man who grew the pumpkin, collected $13,348 in prize money for the pumpkin, Beeman said.

"The growers in Napa Valley are a great group of people," Stelts said. "You never meet a bad person that grows giant pumpkins."

The record for the heaviest pumpkin ever grown worldwide was set this year by a grower from Switzerland with a pumpkin weighing about 2,100 pounds (952 kg), according to the website for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth.

(The story was refiled to correct the weight of the pumpkin to one ton from two tons)

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sandra Maler)