Stark County woman holds claim to world’s largest pumpkin


ABOVE: Will this giant pumpkin stave off the competition and claim the world’s largest pumpkin title? At 1,725 pounds, it would take a hefty competitor to roll it out of the top spot.

CANTON, Ohio — There are pumpkins and then there are PUMPKINS.

Christy Harp, of Jackson Township just outside Canton, has grown a pumpkin that deserves all the emphasis it can get. The 1,725-pound behemoth Harp grew is believed to be the world’s largest ever recorded and will likely retain that title if it can survive a couple more weigh-offs, including the famous Circleville Pumpkin Show, Oct. 21-24.

Rumor has it a grower may present one in the 1,700-pound range, but whatever happens, Harp and her family are living the thrill of being record holders, if only for a few weeks.

“I almost passed out, and it was a really happy feeling,” Harp said, after learning of her pumpkin’s official weight at the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers weigh-off in Canfield.

The 27-year-old is a math teacher at Jackson High School, where she’s become somewhat of a celebrity. She’s been featured on the major Cleveland broadcast channels and her name has appeared in newspapers across the country. She’s hoping her story will be shared on The Today Show, if she can maintain her claim to the world’s largest.

Out to beat husband

Whatever happens, Harp has already won a major battle — conquering the friendly rivalry with her husband, Nick.

The two met just a few years ago attending The University of Akron and discovered a common interest — growing giant pumpkins. They now spend hours a day during the summer on Harp’s grandparents’ farm, where their goal is to out-perform each other and the previous year.

“We kind of grow together, but it’s more of a competition between us,” she said. “Now that we’re married, we are growing in the same patch, (and) it’s pretty much his plants versus my plants.”

However, her husband has his own bragging rights. He grew the state-record tomato at more than 7 pounds.

Harp’s grandmother, Betty Gross, said he often gardens through part of the night, with a lighted headband helping him see.

“They just try something new every year,” Gross said. “It’s amazing what they do.”

Gross recalled with delight, the day her granddaughter harvested the pumpkin and realize it would probably set the record.

“She screamed like you wouldn’t believe: ‘I’ve got the world’s record!'” Gross remembered.

Gross and her husband, Charlie, maintain a 40-acre crop farm and keep the giant pumpkin protected in an undisclosed location.

Water and manure

The Harps have no particular secret, other than using a controlled irrigation system and conditioning the soil with compost and cow manure, and planting good seeds.

The hobby can become expensive, Harp said, but is one she and her husband enjoy.

Their ultimate goal is “just trying to make your personal best higher each year,” she said.

But now that’s she’s produced the world’s largest, doing better won’t be easy.

“I don’t know how I’m going to top that next year,” she laughed.


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  1. According to horticultural specialists, this is not a pumpkin. Generally speaking, pumpkins you carve and squash you cook and eat but determining the difference is still difficult. The stem is what tells you really if it is a pumpkin or a squash. Both belong to the Cucurbita family but there are sub groups to that family. Cucurbita pepo is recognized as the true pumpkin. These are the bright, orange skin and hard, woody, dark green stem. This group also includes some gourds. The Cucurbita maxima group contains pumpkin like fruit but have a yellow orange skin and stems are soft and spongy and usually lighter colored than the pepo family. These are squash that are not used for jack-o-lanterns. Fruit in this family are often listed as pumpkins such as Atlantic Giant, Big Max, Show King but are more properly called squash or pumpkin squash. These are not classified as pumpkins. There should be two categories one for the largest pumpkin and one for the largest squash.

  2. Great story! I know all the hard work that went into growing this giant. Congrats again Christy! And as far as the seeds, Christy said she was going to give them away to growers.

  3. good article chris!!!! trust me, the GREAT PUMPKIN COMMONWEALTH believes they are pumpkins. sheesh.

    by the way, the world record “hard stem” pumpkin (jackolantern-like to us non-horticulturists) was also grown in ohio this year. 154 lbs by glenn orr weighed at the canfield fair. go glenn!!

  4. Anyone looking to buy seeds from the pumpkin mentioned in this article should visit the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers Web site,

    Sale information is available and is being updated regularly.

  5. Hi:

    I was wondering if I could get Mrs Harp’s email address. I’d like to purchase some seeds from her big pumpkin.

    Thanks……….. Bob S


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