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Why Is America Losing Ground in the Contest to Grow the World’s Biggest Pumpkin?

Pumpkin is an iconic American food, as much as turkey, corn, and cranberries. Since the early European settlers first saw the squash, we've been trying to grow larger and larger pumpkins. The first world record pumpkin weighed 400 pounds in 1900. In recent years, they've surpassed a ton. But the current world record pumpkin was grown in Brussels, Belgium, last year. It weighed 2,624.6 pounds! How did Americans lose the title?

Yet for two out of the last three years, the world’s largest pumpkins have sprung up in Europe. “They’re doing very well, and I tip my hat to them,” says Ron Wallace, a country club manager in Greene, Rhode Island, who was paraded on the shoulders of jubilant pumpkin growers one glorious day in 2006 after his squash became the world’s first to break 1,500 pounds. Today, pumpkin growers are gaining on 3,000 pounds, but the Belgians, Swiss and British are in the lead.

Well, see, there was this American soldier stationed in Germany, and… an article at Smithsonian magazine looks at how the fascination with record-setting pumpkins spread to Europe.

(Image credit: Yourcsd


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