© Ashley Thompson
Bill and Dawn Northrup of Sussex, N.B., left and centre, pose for pictures with their record-breaking, 1,813-pound pumpkin. Ashley Thompson photo
Atlantic Canadian growers are getting the hang of harvesting giant pumpkins.
Bill and Dawn Northrup of Sussex, N.B., set a new Atlantic record at the 29th annual Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Weigh-off Oct. 5.
The Northrups’ giant entry was the last of 19 submissions in the heaviest pumpkin category to be weighed. To win the $1,000 grand prize, the Northrup pumpkin had to top the 1,381-pounder grown by Brian Kenneally in New Minas.
The couple watched as the hefty pumpkin they hauled to Nova Scotia with a half-ton truck was carefully lowered on the scale with a forklift.
The announcer barely finished yelling “1,813 pounds” and an ecstatic Dawn had jumped into Bill’s arms, her feet dangling about a foot above the ground.
Not only had they won the Windsor weigh-off, the 15-year growers set their personal best and topped the Atlantic record set in Cape Breton last year by two pounds.
Until now, Dawn says the biggest pumpkin to come out of their patch was a 1,432-pound entry that won the Windsor weigh-off in 2009.
She says they started growing with Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds, but the seed for the new record holder came from a man in Alberta.
She credits water, compost and hard work with the rapid growth of the award-winning entry.
“You bury all the vines, you cover it up at night with a blanket when it gets cold and you give it lots of water. ”
The second largest pumpkin the Northrups grew this year weighed in at 998.5 pounds. The couple plans to have the grand champion on display at their home for as long as possible.
“We’ll take it home and we’ll carve a face in it for Halloween,” said Dawn, beaming with pride.
Leo Swinimer, of New Ross, earned third place in the Windsor weigh-off with his 1,283-pound pumpkin.
Gerard Ansems, of Steam Mill, was the star of the 2012 pumpkin weigh-off in Windsor when he won the contest with a 1,727-pound pumpkin.
Ansems says the largest pumpkin he grew this year weighed 835 pounds.
“I didn’t have very good luck this year,” he added.
He says it’ll be tough to top the new Atlantic record, but he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m not sure if I’ll be able to beat that weight or not but I’ll be back next year.”
Ronald Crowell, of Wood Harbour, won the heaviest squash category with a 832-pound submission and Alisha Bowes-Trinacty, of Windsor, earned first place with a 116-pound watermelon. The heaviest field pumpkin, grown by Russell Coolen, of Boutiliers Point, weighed 134 pounds.