MANASSAS, VA — There’s a contest for everything, and pumpkins are no exception. You may be rightfully proud of that enormous pumpkin in your patch, but unless it weighs upward of 2,500 pounds, you’re not flirting with any kind of record. It could be a record in the Manassas area, though.
That’s a fun challenge to consider as you and your family head out on a rite of fall and visit the pumpkin patches around Manassas. Where’s the biggest pumpkin you’ve seen?
You can even make it a diversion from the coronavirus pandemic with a classroom outing. Teach them a little about pi — not pumpkin pie, but the mathematical formula to calculate the circumference of a circle — or how to convert pounds to kilograms.
Here’s where to start:
Address: 11008 Kettle Run Rd., Nokesville
Season opening/closing dates: Oct. 1-31
Attractions: While the fall market in Haymarket will be closed for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus, the Nokesville farm will be open during the month of October with a corn maze, pumpkins and other fall activities.
Hours: Open daily via pre-purchased tickets.
Pricing: Purchase tickets here.
Season opening/closing dates: Sept. 26-Oct. 31
Attractions: Yankey Farm’s pick-your-own pumpkin patch will open for the 2020 season on Sept. 26. Picking will be by appointment-only due to the coronavirus crisis.
Hours: Sundays 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Mondays 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
Pricing: No farm admission fee; pumpkins are 69 cents per pound
Messick’s Farm Market
Address: 6025 Catlett Rd., Bealeton
Season opening/closing dates: Sept. 19-Oct. 31
Attractions: Pumpkin Patch and Scooby Corn Maze, slides, petting zoo.
Hours: Open everyday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Pricing: $7/person, $4/seniors, 3 & under free. Tickets will be sold in the market and at admission gate. Pumpkins are 59 cents per pound.
Address: 15621 Braddock Rd., Centreville
Season opening/closing dates: Sept. 25-Nov. 2
Attractions: While Cox Farms’ fall festival will be closed for the 2020 season, you can still stock up on seasonal essentials. Order online, and then pick up your goods at our drive-thru market.
Hours: Open for pickup 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Pricing: Pumpkins will be available for online purchase soon. If you purchase a pumpkin, you’ll get to choose your perfect pumpkin from an assortment. When you shop for pumpkins online, you’ll choose from several size categories. In addition to the mini pumpkins and the patch pumpkins, you’ll have the options of the standard carving pumpkins in small, medium, large and jumbo sizes. When you reach the loading station at the farm, you’ll pull up to a pumpkin display.
Read more here: Manassas-Area Pumpkin Patches 2020
The largest pumpkin ever recorded in the U.S. was grown by Steve Geddes. The pumpkin that the Boscawen, New Hampshire, man grew in 2018 tipped the scale at 2,528 pounds to win the top prize at the Deerfield Fair. The impressively sized pumpkin was 165 pounds heavier than the previous U.S. record-holder.
Neither came close to besting world record-holder, Mathia Willemijn, whose 2016 record still stands for the 2,624.6-pound pumpkin that won that year’s European Weigh-Off in Germany, according to Guinness World Records, which describes the gourd as “car-sized.”
Whether pumpkins are in the 2,500- or 2,600-pound range, it’s a lot of pumpkin.
Ask the kiddos this: What else found in nature weighs that much?
A hippopotamus living in the wild can weigh about 5,800 pounds, but some of the smaller hippos weigh about the same as Geddes’ pumpkin.
The largest and heaviest bovine species is the Asian gaur. The bulls can weigh up to 2,500 pounds, but cows weigh significantly less. Another fun fact that separates these cattle from many other species: Both male and female gaurs have horns.
The world and U.S. record-setting pumpkins both are larger than the Australian saltwater crocodile, the largest croc species in the world. They can weigh more than 2,200 pounds.
And here’s another fun fact from Bengtson’s, a Chicago-area pumpkin patch, and perhaps a lesson in agriculture for the spring: The health of the vine matters.
“If you are attempting to grow a massive pumpkin, you should realize that the entire vine is working toward that same goal,” the site says. “All of the water and sunlight received by the leaves and roots are being dedicated to the single pumpkin.”
Making sure the pumpkin has room to grow is another key. Growers should tear out roots that may be near the pumpkin while taking care not to detach the stem.
Once the pumpkin reaches the size of a softball, remove all the other pumpkins from the vine so all the plant’s energy is directed at creating a prize-winning pumpkin.
This article originally appeared on the Manassas Patch