Good gourd! One-ton Alice the pumpkin breaks Canadian record
MONTREAL -- “Alice” is hard to miss when driving down the Bryson’s laneway in Ormstown, QC.
The 2006.5-pound pumpkin sits on a trailer on the lawn, next to a slightly larger, but lighter, pumpkin known as “Alice I”. The pair are slightly lopsided, and not being praised for their looks, but for their weight.
“Alice” has set a new Canadian record as the first pumpkin in the country to weigh over one ton.
The father-daughter duo of Jim and Kelsey Bryson are well-known in competitive pumpkin growing circles. They broke the world record in 2011 with an 1,800 pounder.
“It’s a full time job,” said Jim.
During the hottest days of the summer he’s out in the pumpkin patch every 20 minutes ensuring the leaves don’t burn and the gourds have enough water. Each 950 square foot patch of land can produce one giant pumpkin.
“We don’t till the soil at all,” said Kelsey, “we do cover crop and we use biostimulants. They’re changes we’ve only been doing for the past five years so we have to be willing to evolve.”
The Brysons also use a secret ingredient: maple syrup.
“It’s more for the microbes in the soil,” said Jim.
They use a spray to inject the syrup into the ground around the pumpkins. During the height of the summer the gourds can grow up to 60 lbs every day. Once they reach mammoth size, the walls can be 16 inches thick.
Alice broke the record at the Woodbridge Fair in Ontario. Kelsey lights up as she recounts the moment they found out they had broken the record.
“We’re at the scale and they put the pumpkin on, but they put it on a little bit wrong so dad is helping them readjust it so it fits the scale properly,” she said.
“The number says over 2,000 lbs so I think there’s people standing on the scale. I’m holding dad and thinking there’s no way this is not happening. We turn around and I look at my dad and I accidentally kind of pushed him by accident he almost went falling over. We were tearing up and we were not expecting it at all,” she said.
Kelsey notes they get quite a bit of attention transporting the massive pumpkin down the highway.
“It can take us about 45 minutes to get gas sometimes because when we stop people want pictures and ask us questions,” she said.
Drivers also honk and slow down to get a better look as they pass by.
The most common question they are asked is how many pies one pumpkin can produce.
“You wouldn’t want to make pies from this variety,” said Jim, “it would be pretty bitter.”
The Brysons hope to top this year’s winner with an even heavier pumpkin next year.
The current Guiness World Record is held by Belgian Mathias Willemijns and his 2,624-pound gourd.