A farmer from Italy has just smashed the heaviest pumpkin record, with a specimen that tipped the scales at 1,226 kg (2,702 lb 13.9 oz).
That’s heavier than a Nissan Micra car, or about the same as 17.5 adult men!
Stefano Cutrupi (Italy) from the commune of Radda in Chianti, Tuscany, who has been growing giant pumpkins since 2008, presented the super-sized squash at the 10th edition of the Campionato della Zuccone pumpkin festival in Peccioli, near Pisa, on 26 September 2021.
At this event, also known as “Lo Zuccone” for short, it was assessed by representatives from the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, who confirm that the quality of the produce is good enough to be entered for competition.
Grown from seed, the pumpkin plant – a type of Atlantic giant – germinated back in March. Cutrupi had an inkling he could have a world record-beating pumpkin on his hands by late July.
But nothing in the world of growing giant fruit and vegetables for competition is guaranteed. Anything can happen at any time, not least in the high-risk period after picking the produce and transporting it to the weigh-in event.
So Cutrupi would only know for sure if he had set the record on the day of the contest, and there was considerable tension as he and the crowd waited in anticipation for the official announcement.
"In my head, I was reliving the whole journey to get to that moment," Cutrupi told GWR.
"All the time dedicated to cultivation, to the search for new ideas, the time spent comparing myself with other growers, my sacrifices, and the sacrifices of those closest to me... there were good moments but I also had to swallow bitter pills."
"At the time of the weigh-in, I had my back to the screen,” Cutrupi continued. “When my friends and the audience saw the weight, they swept me up in celebration. At that moment I knew I had made it. I screamed until I lost my voice."
I felt incredible emotions from the moment I saw the pumpkin arrive on the truck. In reality, no one really knows the weight of a pumpkin until it is certified on the scale, but seeing the size of that pumpkin and touching it, I immediately felt a shiver inside me. It had to be the new world record! I was convinced of it - Emanuele Garofano, one of the Lo Zuccone judges who certified the pumpkin
As well as the top spot (and a world record), Cutrupi also claimed the second and third places at the Lo Zuccone contest, with two other entries weighing 978.99 kg (2,158 lb 4.8 oz) and 794.51 kg (1,751 lb 9.5 oz) respectively.
This bumper crop is in spite of some challenging weather in Italy in 2021, with Sicily recording a potential record high temperature for Europe of 48.8°C (119.8°F) in August.
Cutrupi explained: “In mid-May, the Sun started to burn the leaves of the Atlantic Giant plants. From mid-June to mid-August, there were regularly temperature between 33 and 40°C (91-104°F).
“Climate control is a critical factor from germination through to harvest. To allow plants to express themselves at their best, it’s a matter of heating, cooling, shading, misting, watering-feeding when needed.”
Two weeks after the Pecciolo competition, Cutrupi’s gigantic gourd travelled to Ludwigsburg, Germany, to be presented at the European Giant Pumpkin Championship on 10 October 2021.
Although its bulk had slightly reduced (pumpkins lose mass after they are picked through water loss), its registered weight of 1,217.5 kg (2,684 lb 2 oz) was nevertheless more than enough for it to claim first place there too – and still ahead of the previous world record of 1,190.49-kg (2,624-lb 9.3-oz) from 2016, set by Belgian grower Mathias Willemijns.
Asked whether he can offer any insider knowledge or tips to others looking to grow the next record pumpkin, Cutrupi said: “There are no secrets. As in any other field, it’s about pursuing the goal with method and perseverance.”
The question I've always asked myself is: what can I do to enable the plant to express itself at the highest level? I still don't have an answer - Stefano Cutrupi
Does Cutrupi think he can beat his own monster pumpkin from this year? “Everything is possible. Records are made to be broken. I’ll try next year.”
It takes outstanding grower techniques, dedication and a lot of hard work to grow such a large fruit and forthwith a new world record breaking the 2,700-pound level. Awesome job, Stefano, congratulations - Gary J Grande, President of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth
The heaviest pumpkin comes a year after the largest jack o’lantern, by both weight and circumference, which was verified by Guinness World Records in 2020.
Dubbed “Tiger King”, the humongous Halloween decoration was carved from a pumpkin that weighed 2,350 lb (1,065.9 kg), which was grown by Travis Gienger (USA).
After it was officially weighed in California, Gienger transported the ginormous gourd back to his hometown of Anoka, Minnesota (the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World"), where he enlisted friend and experienced pumpkin carver Mike Rudolph (USA) to transform it into the feline-themed jack o'lantern for the town's 100th All Hallows Eve parade.
For an insight into just how much time, skill and dedication it takes to cultivate record-breaking fruit and veg, check out our behind-the-scenes documentary on the Malvern National Giant Vegetable Championships, which was attended by Guinness World Records’ Editor-in-Chief, Craig Glenday, in Sep 2021 and where several new records were ratified, including heaviest aubergine/eggplant and longest leek.
Heaviest pumpkin photos supplied by Stefano Cutrupi, Davide Chiti and Danilo Squitieri