Sunday, February 08, 2009

The forum security detail on high alert.

Seeds were donated by growers from California to Michigan, and beyond.

The study, scrutiny, and strategy of the seed exchange.

Joel Holland, Hall of Fame Grower, left.

Pete Glazier, legendary grower, in white T-shirt, right, foreground.

The panel ponders.

Gary Miller responds to an audience member's question.

The 2009 California Giant Pumpkin Growers Forum
Manuel Valencia, and staff of the Cosumnes Parks and Recreation Department did a masterful job as always, organizing and executing this year's California Giant Pumpkin Growers Forum, which was held Saturday, February 7th, 2009, at the Barbara Morse Wackford Community and Aquatic Complex, Elk Grove, CA. The anticipation in the room was electric. Two hundred fifty of the giant pumpkin uber-faithful were there to rub shoulders with and learn from a pantheon legendary growers: Michelle Lofthouse, current woman's world record-holder, and record for largest pumpkin grown in Southern California, Gary Miller, a Calfornia State Record Holder, even Joel Holland, Hall of Fame Grower, and 1992 World Champion contributed to the panel. Donated prizes were raffled off throughout the day. After the panel presentation, there was a sumptuous buffet, followed by a seed raffle, and then one of the forum's highlights, the seed auction. The audience settled in for a ten lot auction, consisting of 1 to 3 seeds per lot. The top lot of the auction, Lot 10, a 1385.5 Jutras 2007 seed (1068 Wallace x 998.6 Pukos), which has grown pumpkins weighing 1,483.5, 1,457, 1,375, 1,353, 1,343.5, 1,288, 1,209, 1,197.7, 1,1171, 1,168, and 1,153 pounds, went for a stunning $300.00. The other nine lots ranged in price from $80.00 to $185.00. After the auction, the seed exchange closed out the day's events. Then, it was time to head south. This year, the drive to and from the forum was punctuated by several rainstorms, one lightning storm, one rainbow, many fantastic cloud formations, and some spectacular California scenery along Interstate 5.