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Alaska Beat

Alaska Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off sees less competition due to summer weather woes

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published August 29, 2012

Crops in Southcentral Alaska suffered due to the cool, rainy weather that plagued the region this summer. From cabbage to snap peas, plants lagged behind their usual harvest time, vexing both farmers and market-goers.

For the Alaska State Fair, which holds the annual Midnight Sun Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off, this means that the competition was thin, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Mardie Robb, a competitor in last year's pumpkin-growing competition, told the Anchorage Daily News that the pumpkins' pollen must be 75 degrees to turn blossoms into vegetables. She tried eleven times this summer, but none of the pumpkins grew.

This year, Dale Marshall was the only person to bring in qualifying pumpkins for the competition. Three other pumpkins were disqualified, leaving two of Marshall's in the showring. In the past two years, Marshall had grown pumpkins weighing over 1,000 pounds, and it appeared at first that he had done it again. But when it was set on the scale, the official results were 931 pounds. His second pumpkin weighed in at 771.5 pounds.

The next vegetable weigh-off event will be for giant cabbage, and will take place on Friday at 7 p.m, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The cold summer weather is likely to affect that competition, too.

A silver lining for Alaska agriculture this summer? A rare corn harvest in the interior city of Fairbanks by horticulture professor Meriam Karlsson has given farmers hope of future returns.

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