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United States

Oh my gourd: grower of 960kg squash achieves trifecta of giant vegetable world records

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 October, 2017, 9:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 10:58am

A Rhode Island grower is first in the world to achieve a trifecta in the hobby of growing gargantuan foods: world records for heaviest pumpkin, longest long gourd and now, heaviest squash.

After previously breaking two records, Joe Jutras got his third during the weekend when smashed the giant squash record with one that weighed almost a tonne. His green squash tipped the scales at 960kg during a weigh-in at Frerichs Farm in Warren on Saturday.

His other titles came in 2006, when broke the record for longest gourd, with a 3.21-metre beauty, and in 2007, when he broke the record for largest pumpkin, with a vegetable that weighed in at 766kg. Both previous records have since been surpassed, but Jutras is the only grower so far to have held world records in the three most competitive giant-vegetable categories (although technically, pumpkins, gourds and squash are fruit).

“It feels great,” Jutras said Monday. “It’s really been a goal of mine to try to achieve this.”

Jutras has been working on the trifecta for a decade, since his pumpkin win. He was close to the goal a few years ago, but then a squash on track to break the record split. Now 62, Jutras recently retired from his work as a high-end cabinet maker to devote more time to his hobby.

Jutras noted that others had won multiple world records for fruits and vegetables before, but in categories such as carrots that are not as competitive.

He credits a new soil cultivation technique and a seed from last year’s world record breaker for this year’s win.

Ron Wallace, a multi-time pumpkin record breaker, called Jutras’ feat “unbelievable.” He said Jutras’ accomplishment showed the best of the hobby. “It’s about people competing and pushing the boundaries,” he said.

Jutras said his produce is headed to New York City, where it will be on display this month at the New York Botanical Garden.

In February, he’ll receive a coveted “green jacket” honour for his squash record during at the annual convention in Oregon of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, considered the NFL of giant fruit and vegetable growing.

Asked what he plans to do next after achieving the trifecta, he said he’s been thinking about the bushel gourd.

“I think the record now is about 279 pounds (127kg),” Jutras said. “That might be something I might want to get into a bit.”