History-making gigantic pumpkin meets dismal fate
IT HAD the potential to be worth a pretty penny and break a record but one spectacular vegetable ended up no more than fodder for a herd of cows.
Somerset vegetable grower Geoff Frohloff is no stranger to the art of growing enormous produce.
At the start of each year, Geoff sews the seeds to grow a massive variety of pumpkin on his Minden property, which he enters in local ag shows and the Ekka.
This year was no different to usual and Geoff planted the Atlantic Giant in the soil in January to be fully-grown, ripe and – hopefully – history-making by the time the show rolled around.
But then coronavirus bloomed, stopping showtime in its tracks.
Geoff’s crop was well under way when local ag shows statewide began to be called off, one after the other, amid the first wave of the pandemic.
While most of the vines looked to be duds, one pumpkin pulled through.
“I had four plants but just ended up with one pumpkin – the other three had problems,” he said.
As weeks passed, the remaining vegetable appeared to be shaping up to be a winner.
“I had a good one there for the Ekka comp on May 2 – that’s when it would have been,” he said.
“When it was halfway through growing, I could tell it was going to be a big pumpkin – when it was fully-mature, I could see it was a real beauty.”
The impressive beast weighed in at 288kg – a weight Geoff is confident would have broken a record both the Royal Brisbane and Marburg shows.
He said the size and weight for that time of year was huge and his last record during that season was 261.5kg.
“It would have been the biggest one for the Ekka comp and Marburg, if it had gone ahead,” he said.
“For a late season pumpkin, it’s a big one – early ones grow bigger because the days are longer.”
Set to secure its proud grower a tidy $2000 in prize money, the pumpkin’s fate instead took a dire turn.
“I had to feed it to the cows – I cut it up into big pieces and they are the whole thing,” Geoff said.
“I had left it on the scale for three or four weeks after we weighed it.”
Geoff has his sights set on next year.
“Hopefully we’ll grow a bigger one next year and hopefully the shows are back on,” he said.
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