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October 1, 2012

New England farmer grows world's first 1-ton pumpkin

TOPSFIELD, Mass. — A Rhode Island farmer has grown the world's first one-ton pumpkin, shattering the previous record by 165 1/2 pounds.

Ron Wallace's behemoth pumpkin topped out at an amazing 2,009-pounds on a digital scale Friday, earning him $15,500 in prize money at the Topsfield Fair's giant pumpkin weigh-off.

Fair officials said growing a one-ton pumpkin was comparable to breaking the four-minute mile barrier in track.

“It’s a great world record,” said James O'Brien, the fair's general manager. “Topsfield has had a lot of world records, but this one is special."

The previous world pumpkin record had been set only a day earlier at a fair in Deerfield, N.H., with a weight of 1,843 1/2 pounds.

The Topsfield Fair in this Boston suburb is the oldest agricultural fair in the nation. It has featured the great pumpkin weigh-off for several years.

In addition to the $5,500 first place prize, it has in recent years offered a bonus of $10,000 to the first one-ton pumpkin, a feat considered impossible.

A forklift was needed to lift Wallace's winning entry onto the scale. Five minutes earlier a competitive pumpkin weighed in at 1,649 pounds.

“I’m back, baby,” yelled Wallace, pumping his fist and pounding his chest when the weight of his 2,009-pound pumpkin was announced to the crowd.

Wallace had grown the winning pumpkin six years earlier at a mere 1,347 pounds. He said he had an inkling in mid-August he'd grown a special pumpkin for this year's contest, and "hoped that it weighed more than a small car."

It did.

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Details for this story were provided by the Salem, Mass., News.

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