This year local growers didn’t have to go far to participate in a great pumpkin commonwealth weigh-off. The Ormstown Fall Festival is now a recognized competition.
“We have local guys that grow in the community and they usually travel 8 to 9 hours away to do the pumpkin weigh-off. So we invited them this year to our second annual fall festival,” said Livestock Breeders Association secretary Jayme McClintock.
Moving gargantuan gourds to the scale using a forklift proved to be a difficult task. Especially when first place is up for grabs and international records can be broken.
“You can qualify for awards in North America, actually in the world, because you have to be GPC sanctioned. So that’s the great pumpkin commonwealth. That is the governing body of all pumpkin growers throughout the world,” said judge Glenn Cheam.
The first place pumpkin at the Ormstown Fall Festival was grown by Tod Kline from Shawville, weighing in at 1,636 pounds.
The weigh-off was the newest exhibition at the event in the farmlands South of Montreal, featuring local businesses and a cattle show.
“We’re a non-profit organization and we do it for the community and for anyone to come in and appreciate our region, the local growers and any type of agriculture,” said McClintock.
Glenn Cheam judged multiple categories in Saturday’s weigh-off, including 3 squash and 6 pumpkins that take around 6 months to grow, gaining around 40-50 pounds per day.
“The first thing I look at is the colour. Is it a squash or is it a pumpkin? Pumpkins can be anywhere from orange to cream white, while squash is green,” he told Global News.
Even experienced farmers say giant pumpkins are one of the hardest things to grow.
“I guess you need a lot of luck to start with. I usually have about 800 square feet per plant,” said farmer Jim Bryson.
While they aren’t winning any beauty competitions, after the weigh-in they can be carved for Halloween or even eaten.
“You could. We don’t. But I lost one in the early on this year, and I started eating it. I couldn’t stop eating it. It’s really good to eat,” said Bryson.