Record-smashing pumpkin! Twins grow UK’s biggest ever squash weighing in at a whopping 185 STONE – heavier than two polar bears
- Ian and Stuart Paton, 59, spent three weeks growing the giant pumpkin
- They have have beaten the UK best and missed out on the world record by 31lb
- The twins hosted their own drive-thru weigh in event
A pair of twins have grown UK’s biggest squash weighed in at a whopping 2,593.7lb- heavier than two polar bears.
Ian and Stuart Paton, 59, from Lymington in Hampshire’s New Forest National Park, have beaten the previous UK best of 2,433lb and narrowly missed out on the world record by just 31lb.
The twins who spent three weeks growing it said they were ‘extremely pleased’ with their ‘incredible beast’.
Two- year old Martha Syrett with one of her grandfather’s giant pumpkins
They said the pumpkin was gaining around 51lb a day and they spent around six hours a day tending to it.
The 59-year-old twins decided to host their own drive-thru weigh in event this year after the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of the annual Pumpkin Festival at Victoria Country Park in Southampton, Hants.
Speaking after the weigh in, Ian said: ‘We are extremely pleased. The world record will come when it comes.
‘We sowed the seeds in early April but it has been about 120 days since the pumpkin was the size of a golfball to its current 20ft circumference.
‘This one grew an average of 51lb a day for 21 days at the end.
‘I first grew a pumpkin aged about 11 and it weighed 56lb. Now ours grow that much in a day, they’re incredible beasts.’
Ian and Stuart Paton beat the UK record of 2,433lb and missed out on the world record by 31lb
In order for the weigh-in at Pinetop Nursery near Lymington, to be officially recognised, the pair arranged for special scales and a panel of three independent judges.
The pair already held the UK record, for a 2,433lb pumpkin which they grew in 2018.
They narrowly missed out this year on beating the world record held by Mathias Willemijns for his 2,624lb pumpkin.
Ian said that during his 40-year-long pumpkin growing career he has regularly thought about calling it quits, but every year he comes back.
He said: ‘[The addiction] is called pumpkin sickness, once you have it that’s it.
‘There are years when you swear you will never grow them again but then next year there you are, planting the seeds again.
‘Growing these are a challenge believe me, when they split and something goes wrong there are tears at breakfast.’
‘We have made the pumpkins into boats four or five times in the past, once for Blue Peter.
‘Normally we try and do something for charity with them, last year one was carved for Macmillan nurses. We’ll do something similar this year.’
Pumpkins are no longer considered an ‘essential Halloween decoration’ rather than a tasty ingredient for soups and pies.
Thanks to the vegan boom the demand for edible pumpkins has risen to record levels, a supermarket buyer has said.
Tesco’s dedicated pumpkin grower planted 100,000 of the eating variety this year-this is the largest number yet, and an increase of 150% in the last two years.
Steve Whitworth, of Oakley Farms, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of pumpkins said: ‘Britain is becoming more like America in that pumpkins are not only bought to carve but also to eat, and their sweet flesh is delicious in soups and pies.
‘As a result of this growing popularity, we’ve planted 100,000 sweet cooking pumpkins this year.’
Tesco pumpkin buyer David Tavernor said: ‘Pumpkins are no longer a novelty fruit only bought by parents for their kids as an essential Halloween decoration.
‘Thanks to the plant-based food revolution, they’ve become really popular with vegans, even taking pride of place as a Christmas centrepiece for the festive feast.
‘The edible ones are far sweeter than the carving variety and, because of the growing demand, we’ve re-branded them this year as Sweet Cooking Pumpkins.’