West Virginia has a program in place to offer farmers a chance to compete for bragging rights on the produce they grow. It sets records for the size or weight of produce or fruit grown in the Mountain State, then challenges farmers to break those records. The program is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.
“We’re the only state in the region that has this type of program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt. “We see it as a fun way to encourage farming while bringing attention to our gardeners throughout the state.”
Produce or fruit eligible for records must follow several rules including being grown in West Virginia and within one season. New categories that were added to the program include carrot by weight, cucumber by weight pawpaw by weight, sunflower by head diameter and zucchini by length.
In 2017 several records were broken. Those include a 38.6 pound cantaloupe, a 2 pound-6.88 ounce carrot and a 10.77 pound cucumber grown by Dustin Trychta of Morgantown. Also Robery Cyrus grew at 1,407 pound pumpkin. A complete list of rules and records can be found online.
“The rules and categories have been a bit more formalized in recent years,” added Commissioner Leonhardt. “This keeps the program manageable and as fair as practically possible.”