CHAMPION — An early October evening found Christine E. M. Nolan out tending to her pumpkin patch, post-harvest, demonstrating that in the world of competitive pumpkin growing, she’s not one to let her gourd down.
Christine Nolan poses with her 838-pound prize-winning pumpkin that won first place Sept. 26 at the annual Pumpkin Festival in Gouverneur. / Photo courtesy Christine Nolan
She was fresh off a victory in Saratoga Springs, where its sixth annual Giant PumpkinFest on Sept. 25 attracted growers from New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Pennsylvania. Ms. Nolan’s winning entry grown in her Champion patch off County Route 47 weighed in at 1,561½ pounds. It harvested $1,500 in prize money.
“I was very happy because it’s hard to place first,” Ms. Nolan said. “There’s a lot of experienced growers who have been doing this way longer than me.”
She also took first place with a specimen weighing 838 pounds at the 10th annual Pumpkin Festival in Gouverneur on Sept. 26. Her son-in-law, Travis Clemons, with an entry of 757 pounds, came in second at Gouverneur.
Ms. Nolan could not enter her heaviest pumpkin at both contests.
“It’s against the rules with the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth,” she said.
The Commonwealth, according to its website, “cultivates the hobby of growing giant pumpkins throughout the world by establishing standards and regulations that ensure quality of fruit, fairness of competition, recognition of achievement, fellowship and education for all participating growers and weigh-off sites.”
Meanwhile, a husband-wife rookie team of giant pumpkin growers in Cape Vincent took home ribbons and plaques at the annual World Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Clarence, Erie County, on Oct. 2. David McIntyre’s pumpkin weighed 1,091 pounds, good for fourth place in Clarence. David’s wife, Amie, won the Howard Dill Award at the contest for the best-looking pumpkin. The award is named after Mr. Dill, known as the “Father of Giant Pumpkin Growing,” from Windsor Nova Scotia, Canada.
Cape Vincent resident David McIntyre poses with his 1,091 pound pumpkin as it gets ready for transport. He was assisted in the task by Bill Pond. Mr. McIntyre’s entry took fourth place at a contest at the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence on Oct. 2. Photo courtesy of David McIntyre
The seeds of competition run deep in the world of competitive …….