Sammamish Valley farmer Marshal Leroy carved sharp eyes into his 519-pound giant pumpkin and placed a smaller squash inside its jagged mouth.
Leroy’s “Plumpkin” won second place in the Sammamish Valley Alliance giant pumpkin weigh-in at 21 Acres on Saturday, Oct. 23.
“This is the first time we have really done a big promotion for pumpkins,” SVA Executive Director Brenda Vanderloop said.
During the event, children dressed up in costumes ran from the Halloween coloring station to the cupcake walk in hopes of winning some sweet treats. Attendees were also invited on a farm walk to learn about regenerative farming practices used on the 21 Acres property.
SVA President Tom Quigley said several farmers around the Sammamish Valley weighed their pumpkins during a private gathering last year. This year, he said, the nonprofit opened the giant pumpkin weigh-in to the public.
“I entered the contest last year,” Erik Goheen of Sammamish Farms said. “This is a fun competition among the local farmers.”
Farmers and community members anxiously watched as pumpkins of all sizes were set on the scale. About seven pumpkins were entered in the contest.
“Compost Pile Baby,” grown by Andrew Ely of Eunomia Farms, came in first place for heaviest pumpkin with a weight of 549 pounds. Leroy, who owns Alki Market Garden, came in second with “Plumpkin” weighing in at 519 pounds.
Participants also voted on other awards based on each pumpkin’s shape, name and ability to be carved into a Jack O’ Lantern.
Vanderloop said “Bad Boy,” grown by Tom Quigley of Olympic Nursery, earned the title of lumpiest pumpkin. Leroy brought home another award for “Plumpkin” as the most Jack O’ Lantern potential pumpkin. “Pride of the Valley,” which came from the 21 Acres Collective Family, was voted as the puniest pumpkin.
“Pablo,” which was grown at the 21 Acres Farm by students in the Interact Club of Northshore, received honorable mention. Erik Goheen, owner of Sammamish Farms, was also honorably recognized for his entry “Gold Nugget.”
“The SVA has celebration events every year. For the spring one coming up, we’re going to bring pumpkin starts to the event,” Quigley said. “People can buy them and nurture them all summer, then enter the next contest.”
The SVA—a nonprofit in the Sammamish Valley—aims to educate the community about local, sustainable farming while celebrating the long-running history of agriculture in the valley.
To learn more about regenerative farming, join the annual Farmers Roundtable at the Sammamish Valley Grange on Wednesday, Nov. 3. For more information, visit https://21acres.org/event/farmers-roundtable-with-ncrs/.