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Little Valley man grows one-ton pumpkin

Submitted photos Andy Wolf, a Little Valley resident, is pictured recently with his 2,365-pound pumpkin that won him the North American Championship at the Parks Garden Center in Canfield, Ohio. “I’ve been close before, and every year the competition gets a little bit tougher,” he said.

LITTLE VALLEY — It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Maybe Linus wasn’t waiting for this pumpkin in the pumpkin patch — but Andy Wolf’s pumpkin is certainly great in size. Wolf, a Little Valley resident, has been growing gigantic gourds since the late 1990s, but this year’s crop yielded the largest he’s ever grown. His prized pumpkin weighed in at 2,365 pounds — over one ton.

Wolf recently brought the pumpkin to a competition at the Parks Garden Center in Canfield, Ohio, and took home the title of 2021 North American Champion.

He said it was a great experience.

“I’ve been close before, and every year the competition gets a little bit tougher,” he said. “The genetics do get better so the pumpkins are getting bigger and it’s a little harder getting up into the top ranks compared to how it used to be when there were probably less pumpkin growers.”

While the feat might seem impossible for everyday gardeners, Wolf said “if you can grow a good garden, you can grow big pumpkins.”

“You’ve got to get the soil turned up, get the seeds out of other big pumpkins,” Wolf said. “It’s taken care of the plants and you’ve got to get a little bit of luck along the way, too.”

He said he grew interested in the horticultural hobby when he saw a pumpkin competition in North Collins as a child. He said he got on the internet, found others who were having success with growing large pumpkins and got some seeds.

“I kind of got hooked,” Wolf said. “Most of the guys will say it’s kind of addicting. Your first pumpkin, you take it to a contest, and even if it’s not a monster, you know you’ve got a number that you want to beat the following year and keep getting better.”

He grows more than one pumpkin a year and generally attends up to five pumpkin competitions in various areas. However, this year, Wolf was able to enter pumpkins into nine different competitions.

“This year was a little bit different,” he said. “I put in way more plants than what I normally do, and I didn’t lose as many along the way. Sometimes you lose them to splits, or rot or critters or something like that. I really had enough pumpkins to go around.”

Wolf said the smallest pumpkin he entered in competitions this year was 665 pounds. He said the one-ton pumpkin wouldn’t fit in the back of his truck, so he transported it on a trailer with special padding so it wouldn’t break.

After the competition, Wolf lent his prize-winning pumpkin to a festival in Pittsburgh, and this week, dropped it off at the New York Botanical Gardens in New York City.

“It will be on display in New York City there until Halloween,” he said.

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