The Napa Valley may become known for another crop aside from its world-renowned grapes. On Saturday, a giant pumpkin from the valley set a world record during a weigh-off at Morgan Hill in the South Bay.
The pumpkin, grown for 105 days in a backyard in east Napa, tipped the scale at 2,032 pounds at the 23rd annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, hosted by Uesugi Farms.
The grower, Tim Mathison, celebrated the record with his wife, Susie, son Brian, and a dozen fellow growers from Napa.
“I was surprised. I didn’t think it was going to go that heavy. ... I was very surprised and happy,” said Mathison, a lumber salesman who attributed his success in part to this year’s mild temperatures. “The weather was very good this year.”
Growers of giant pumpkins in Napa are very supportive of one another, Mathison and others said.
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The previous world record was for a 2,009-pound pumpkin grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, R.I. That mark was set at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Mass., on Sept. 28, 2012.
Mathison’s pumpkin is not coming home. It will be shipped Monday to New York City for a series of media events.
“It was fantastic,” said Gary Miller, who finished in sixth place Saturday at the weigh-off with a “little” pumpkin that weighed 1,387 pounds.
Other Napans participating in the weigh-off included Pete and Cindi Glasier, who were in second place with a 1,784-pound pumpkin; Leonardo Urena, who placed fifth; Miller, in sixth; Andy Narden, who placed eighth; Vern Blaziek, who was ninth; and John Hawkley, who placed 11th.
For his efforts, Mathison, 56, earned more than $14,220, and an extra $1,500 for breaking the California record — which he set Oct. 5 with another of his pumpkins. Mathison said he may receive a $16,000 bonus if his world record is not surpassed before Nov. 1.
Mathison and his wife plan to fly Wednesday to New York at the invitation of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, a group that promotes the hobby of growing giant pumpkins, for having one of the three biggest pumpkins. Mathison won the trip a week earlier after breaking the California state record at a weigh-off in Elk Grove, thanks to a 1,874.5-pound pumpkin. He won more than $11,200 at that event.
Mathison, who loves gardening, said the cash prizes may help him recoup some of his expenses over the years. But he’s not growing pumpkins to make money. “It’s not so much the money,” he said. “It’s bragging rights.”
Mathison is not done. He plans to bring a third pumpkin to the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival on Monday.