Published: 10/21/2022 4:16:59 PM

Now that’s a lot of Thanksgiving dinner potential.

A giant pumpkin and two giant squashes grown in this pocket of New England are on display at Boston Public Market to be admired by the masses until mid-November. Erving resident Art Kaczenski grew a 1,772-pound pumpkin and a state-record 1,269-pound squash while LuAllen “Lou” Chadwick, of Swanzey, New Hampshire, nurtured a squash that weighed in at 773 pounds. Al Rose, owner of Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, drove the enormous vegetables to Boston on Oct. 11 after they were featured at his farm’s annual Pumpkin Weigh-In and Festival.

“It’s always so much fun when you can bring the farm to the city,” Rose said. “Seeing a giant pumpkin … it’s like having your first cider doughnut — you will always remember that.”

Kaczenski, 47, said he began growing regular-size pumpkins with his grandfather when he was 13 “and it kind of snowballed into what I do now.” He said this was the sixth consecutive year he has grown the largest pumpkins at Red Apple Farm’s event and he is thrilled that Rose volunteers to cart the gargantuan produce to the state’s capital.

“I think it’s great. There’s going to be thousands of people looking at them,” he said. “It’s awesome … showing what can be done with some little seeds.”

Rose explained he and some pumpkin growers typically return to Boston in November to cut up the vegetables and place the pieces in compost bins picked up in the city. He said he has volunteered to bring the pumpkins and squashes to Boston for the past seven years. Rose and Kaczenski said the seeds are salvaged and dried to grow even bigger and better pumpkins and squashes next year. Kaczenski, who owns Artscape Landscaping & Design, said he gives away the seeds. He noted the vegetables on display could have up to 800 seeds inside them.

“There’s really no way of knowing,” he said.

Boston Public Market typically hosts the “PumpKing” and “PumpQueen” as part of the annual “Official Pumpkin of Boston.” This year, Rose explained, an exception was made due to the impressiveness of the top three vegetables. He said he was assisted in transporting the pumpkin and squashes by his son, John Rose, and Chadwick.

A retired U.S. Army forklift operator, Chadwick removed the pumpkin and squashes from the Ford F-350 and car trailer used to get them from the farm to Boston.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.



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