Mr Fothergill's Laura Oakes fought off the challenge from 12 colleagues to grow the heaviest pumpkin in a staff competition this year (2014). All the competitors were allowed to choose their own company-grown young plant of proven heavyweight Atlantic Giant, and then tended it personally on the trial ground, nurturing it however they wished in the hope of producing the heaviest pumpkin.
At the official weigh-in, held at the seedsman's Suffolk headquarters in late October, Laura's heaviest pumpkin was recorded at 50.1kg. In second place was a 42.5kg specimen grown by James Nutt, with a 37.3kg example nurtured by Rachel Cole in third place. Laura received a bucket of sweets with which to reward 'trick-or-treaters' as her prize.
Green-fingered Laura, who works in the company's mail order division, said she was very pleased to win the competition. She commented "I used to grow my own Hallowe'en pumpkins when I was younger (next to a muck heap, which they seemed to like), but this was my first attempt in many years. To be honest, I didn’t fuss over my pumpkin excessively. I just gave it some Plant Magic feed as the fruits were beginning to form. The plant gave me two good sized pumpkins – the winner plus another which weighed in at 30.1kg. In theory I should have removed this second fruit, but both have been put to good use and now carved ready for Hallowe’en".