Remember last year when Thompson & Morgan paid £725 ($1149) - for just one snowdrop bulb? I wrote it up here. Well, they've splashed the cash again. My old friend at T&M, Managing Director Paul Hansord, has paid 200 euros – that’s £168 or $266 – for one pumpkin seed. No, no... Not one packet, not one pound, not one kilo. One seed. But it's one of just five seeds produced by last year's 2009lb (911Kg) record-breaker (above, click to enlarge. Image ©BigPumpkins.com) which is called "The Freak II".
I thought I’d simply quote you Thompson & Morgan’s press release, in full.
“Growing giant pumpkins is no longer a hobby - to many it has become a competitive sport! So if you want to grow the biggest and the best, you need to start off with the very best genetics.
“At 9pm on Saturday 19th January, the European Giant Vegetable Growers Association held a live auction of pumpkin seed varieties as part of www.bigpumpkins.com chat room. A total of 23 lots were included in the sale.
“Poised by their computers, 67 enthusiasts logged on to take part in the bidding which went on for almost 4 hours. However, lot 23 was the one everyone was waiting for; it was seed from last year’s world record-breaking pumpkin - a hybrid raised by Ron Wallace of Greene, Rhode Island, which weighed in at 2009lbs (911Kg) at Topsfield Fair in the USA. Ron’s was the first ever pumpkin to weigh more than 2000lbs. After a frenzied bidding war, a single seed from Ron Wallace’s prize-winner was sold to Thompson & Morgan for €200.00. [You can see how big it is compared to a normal pumpkin seed (right, click to enlarge).]
“Managing director, Paul Hansord said, “When compared to the usual giant pumpkin seed price of around 46p ($0.73), this seems extortionate. But we’re paying for the pedigree. If you want to grow a really huge pumpkin, you need to start with record-breaking, genetically proven, premium seed.”
“Auctions of pumpkin seed have been running since 1997. Trading encourages growers and enthusiasts to raise stronger and more competitive hybrids. The highest price paid for a single pumpkin seed was in 2011 from a previous record-breaker which weighed 1810lbs (821Kg). The price was £1009 ($1600); an exceptionally high price due to the fact that the fruit had only produced 5 seeds.
“Thompson & Morgan is now searching for a ‘growing partner’ with specialist knowledge of growing giant vegetables to help raise this precious seed in an attempt to break the record for the world’s heaviest pumpkin.”
T&M’s propagator must be mightily relieved they’re looking for someone else to grow the seed for them. Can you imagine the phone call? “Hello Paul. You remember that pumpkin seed you paid a fortune for? Well, down here at the nursery it’s been a very bad year for slugs…”
You can read more about Ron Wallace and his pumpkin in The Boston Globe.