Growing a giant pumpkin: behind the scenes

Posted at 12:43 PM, Oct 04, 2015

Since April, James Hazeltine has been thinking about pumpkins. About eight years ago, he started growing giant pumpkins on a dare, and hasn't stopped since.

It's not an easy hobby - the pumpkins are time-consuming, and Hazeltine spends plenty of time in his pumpkin patch.

"About four hours a day," he said. "I have kids, and I work construction and I have 38 head of beef out here - a lot of this is done at night by headlight. So I'm out here until 11, 12 at night, with a headlight on my head, just trying to compete you know?"

He's competing for bragging rights. This weekend, the World Pumpkin Weigh-Off takes place at the Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence.

"The growers are one-of-a-kind people," said Katy Toth, who works at the farm. "They're not in it for the prize money. They're in it for the prestige, and the fact that they can grow the biggest pumpkin."

Hazeltine came in 8th place last year. This year, he says he just wants to improve.

"Just continually getting a little bit better. I think every year I'd just like to progress. You don't want to work all year long and then be 100 pounds short of last year. And last year you put your heart and soul into it too," he explained.




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