Farmer Nurses 1,200 Pound Pumpkin

From pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice to pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin latte, pumpkin cream cheese and even pumpkin beer, the possibilities of what you can do with a pumpkin are endless.

And there's a pretty good chance you can do all of them, combined, with the pumpkin that New York farmer Andrew Scalise has growing in his garden.

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Scalise, from Jamestown, N.Y., a town of 30,000 in southwestern Chautauqua County, is the proud owner of a 1,200 pound pumpkin that he has spent as many as six hours daily tending to since May, the start of pumpkins' 150-day growing season, according to his local newspaper, The Post-Journal.

"It's 1,200 pounds and it's gaining real well every day," he told the paper. "There's a good gain every day."

Scalise, who has been growing pumpkins for 10 years on his 40-acre property, hopes the pumpkin keeps growing between now and Sept. 30, the date he'll hoist it on a trailer and drive it to Clarence, N.Y., for the World Pumpkin Weigh-Off.

There it will go up against gourds the sizes of which you won't see in your local grocery store, all competing for a $10,000 prize. Last year's winner clocked in at 1,613.5 pounds and the current world record for pumpkin weight stands at 1,818.5 pounds, the Post-Journal reports.

To break the record would be a feat but Scalise is hoping for at least a top five finish because his pumpkin has what he describes as good genes.

"This pumpkin here, is a 1,662.5 Stelts. It is crossed with the second-heaviest pumpkin in the world, which was an 1,807.5 Stelts. I know the genetics are good," Scalise said. (Dave and Carol Stelts of Edinburg, Pa., are champion pumpkin growers.)

The 1,200 pound pumpkin, along with the other three pumpkins Scalise is now raising, take 100 gallons of water per day to stay hydrated. They're watered three times per day with water from Scalise's own pond that, he tells the paper, has different pH levels than city water to help his pumpkins thrive.

Other tricks of Scalise's trade include treating the pumpkins with oxygen, manure and carbon dioxide and covering them to help keep them at a steady temperature.

I am obsessed with it," Scalise said of his pumpkin growing.

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