A California farmer broke a North American record on Monday when his large, bulbous gourd clocked in at 2,058 pounds during the annual Half Moon Bay pumpkin weigh-off, which has been drawing veteran growers and hobbyists alike since 1974.
The giant squash, dubbed by festival organizers as the “colossal ghost,” grown by John Hawkley of Napa — especially large for a drought year — was about 265 pounds shy of claiming the world record for largest pumpkin. That record was set Sunday in Germany, when Swiss grower Beni Meier turned in a pumpkin that weighed 2,323 pounds.
Still, Hawkley’s magnificent white pumpkin broke sacred ground statewide: It was the first time a pumpkin had smashed the ton-mark at the Half Moon Bay Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, which has been running the contest for 41 years. Hawkley’s record also beat Tim Mathison’s 2,032-pound pumpkin at a nearby Uesugi Farms pumpkin weighoff this weekend.