Grower wins trifecta of giant food titles
By MICHELLE R. SMITH
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A Rhode Island grower is first in the world to achieve a trifecta in the hobby of growing gargantuan foods: world records for heaviest pumpkin, longest long gourd and now, heaviest squash.
After previously breaking two records, Joe Jutras got his third during the weekend when he smashed the giant squash record with one that weighed more than a ton. His green squash tipped the scales at 2,118 pounds during a weigh-in at Frerichs Farm in Warren on Saturday.
His other titles came in 2006, when he broke the record for longest gourd, with a 126.5-inch gourd, and in 2007, when he broke the record for largest pumpkin, with a fruit that weighed in at 1,689 pounds. Both previous records have since been surpassed, but Jutras is the only grower so far to break world records in the three most competitive categories.
“It feels great,” Jutras said Monday. “It’s really been a goal of mine to try to achieve this.”
Jutras has been working on the trifecta for a decade, since his pumpkin win. He was close to the goal a few years ago, but then a squash on track to break the record split. Now 62, Jutras recently retired from his work as a high-end cabinet maker to devote more time to his hobby.
Jutras noted that others had won multiple world records for fruits and vegetables before, but in categories such as carrots that are not as competitive.
He credits a new soil cultivation technique and a seed from last year’s world record breaker for this year’s win.
Ron Wallace, a multi-time pumpkin record breaker, called Jutras’ feat “unbelievable.” He said Jutras’ accomplishment showed the best of the hobby. “It’s about people competing and pushing the boundaries,” he said.
Jutras said his fruit is headed to New York City, where it will be on display this month at the New York Botanical Garden.
In February, he’ll receive a coveted “green jacket” honor for his squash record at the annual convention in Oregon of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, considered the NFL of giant fruit and vegetable growing.
Asked what he plans to do next after achieving the trifecta, he said he’s been thinking about the bushel gourd.
“I think the record now is about 279 pounds,” Jutras said. “That might be something I might want to get into a bit.”