Charlottetown grower sets Island pumpkin record

·3 min read
Eddy Shaw's champion pumpkin weighed 765 kilograms. (Tony Davis/CBC News - image credit)
Eddy Shaw's champion pumpkin weighed 765 kilograms. (Tony Davis/CBC News - image credit)

A scaled-down version of the annual Prince Edward Island Giant Pumpkin and Squash Weigh-Off took place Saturday.

The pumpkins weren't scaled down, though.

This year's weigh-off was the second in row closed to the public due to pandemic restrictions. There weren't the usual family festivities like pie-eating contests and hay rides.

Charlottetown's Eddy Shaw was the winner with a pumpkin weight in at 765 kilograms, or 1,686 pounds. That's a P.E.I. record, breaking the mark he set in 2017.

The absence of crowds didn't discourage Karen Stewart of Cape Traverse, P.E.I. A first-time participant, Stewart grew a 197-kilogram pumpkin.

"We're big gardeners at home," Stewart said. "We have a little mini-farm and some goats, horses and chickens, and I wanted to try something different.

"I always grew pumpkins, so this year I reached out to the Dills' pumpkin farm in Windsor and made some great connections and they sent me some seeds. And here I am."

She said was inspired to participate in the weigh-off this year after growing a 45.5-kilogram pumpkin in her garden last year.

"We have kids and we're always outside. So we just dedicated a little area and I thought, 'OK, I'm going to try and do a giant,' and really had no idea what I was getting into."

It's become a passion, she said. She hopes to grow a bigger pumpkin next year.

"Go big or go home," she said.

Tony Davis/CBC News
Tony Davis/CBC News

Other participants such as Victoria Mellish are seasoned veterans. The 14-year-old has been participating for the past seven years.

The uncertainty of how big a giant pumpkin will grow is thrilling, she said.

"It's really interesting to see what will happen in the end. You know, when you plant them, you have no idea what's going to happen."

She and her family participate annually to have a friendly competition among themselves, Mellish said.

"For my family, it's just to see who can grow the biggest one, just to see who can do better than the other. They all turn out really weird. There's some weird ones and some big ones and small ones."

Mellish's 219-kilogram pumpkin did not come close to winning for largest pumpkin, but it got an award for its looks. She said growing a "pretty" pumpkin is a mix of genetics and luck.

"If you can get a nice-coloured pumpkin and you could get seeds from that and, hopefully, it carries over to the next one, but it's mostly just luck."

Tony Davis/CBC News
Tony Davis/CBC News

Gordon Aten, president of the P.E.I. Giant Pumpkin Association, said he was pleased with the outcome of the event.

"The turnout was great, especially since it wasn't open for the public. We had lots of growers here and a couple of first-time growers."

Aten believes the competitiveness of the event attracts new growers to participate and keeps veteran participants coming annually.

He hopes crowds will return to the weigh-off next year as well as the festivities. "Time will tell, but the feeling is there."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting