The 753-pounder, a fair record breaker, won't be turned into pie.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Humongous pumpkins weighing hundreds of pounds could make a lot of perfect pies, but the giants on display at the Canfield Fair are more likely to end up gracing the lawns or front entrances of area businesses.
Parks Garden Center in Canfield always buys the largest pumpkin, said David Royer, director of the pumpkin show.
This year, that's a 753-pound record-breaker grown by Bill Moss of Salem. Last year's winner weighed in at 625 pounds. The largest fair pumpkin on record, before this year's giant, weighed in at 719 pounds in 1994.
Parks displays the pumpkin through the autumn holidays and then harvests and sells the seeds for about $2 apiece. Proceeds benefit the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers Association, Tim Parks said. Parks is a founding member of the OVGPGA, and his family owns and operates the garden center.
A giant pumpkin likely will have between 300 and 500 seeds, Parks said. "We'll pay about $600 for the pumpkin -- a set price for every pound up to 719, the last record, and then a dollar a pound for every pound over that.
"We won't sell all the seeds -- I still have some from three and four years ago -- so we won't get our money back, but this is to benefit the club," Parks said.
Bidding for others: Other giant fair pumpkins, including the second-place winner, a 673-pounder grown by Charles Lanterman of Ellsworth, will be sold to whoever makes the best offer, usually between $30 and $50, Royer said.
Schools and businesses that use pumpkins to decorate make offers at the pumpkin display building and collect their purchases after the fair. "This saves the growers from taking them back home to sell," Royer noted.
The fair board also pays growers $25 for displaying pumpkins more than 300 pounds, he said.
Only for decoration: Years ago, when pumpkins topped out at a couple hundred pounds, farmers would feed them to their hogs and cattle. They grow too big for that now, Royer said, so they sell them for decorations. "They are not used for anything else now. That's their only value."
Over the years, growers have cultivated pumpkins to grow larger and larger. At this year's fair, every giant pumpkin, a type of squash, weighs more than 300 pounds, Royer said.
Field pumpkins, squashes and gourds are judged on weight, color and shape, Royer continued. None of those items are sold.