NORTH SCITUATE, Rhode Island -- Champion pumpkin grower, Joe Jutras of North Scituate, Rhode Island, is blessed with more than a green thumb when it comes to pumpkins. On September 26, 2007, Jutras harvested the world's largest pumpkin tipping the scales at a whopping 1,689 pounds, smashing the previous Guinness Book of World Record-sized pumpkin of 1,502 by 187 pounds. Joe's historical success presented an even more daunting challenge, as he had not just one but four of the largest pumpkins ever to come out of a single pumpkin patch in history. Just how he was to transport these giant treasures safely from his garden patch more than 200 yards behind his house to safe storage, before eventual movement to four regional fairs and weigh-offs?
For the record, Jutras grew this year the four biggest pumpkins ever taken out of a single pumpkin patch in world history, each respectively weighing in at 1,689 pounds, 1,402 pounds, 1,352 pounds and 1,302 pounds. Breaking world records for thousand-plus pound pumpkins is truly phenomenal. And Jutras has never had such a grand harvesting year before, so besides 'big' news and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, this could mean 'big' dollars as well. Record pumpkins can fetch up to $10,000 and the seeds alone as much as $150 each.
While the dollars are a bonus, giant pumpkin growing is mostly about personal bests and the love of competition. It is not unusual for a grower to spend 20-30 hours a week in the patch nurturing their plants. Pumpkins tend to crack when they get larger, and with so much invested growers get little sleep in the days leading up to harvest.
With Jutras' pumpkins having outgrown traditional tripod and winch methods of movement, Joe was truly stumped as to how he would transport his treasures without turning them to squash. So he turned to third-party logistics and transportation provider, Cardinal Logistics Management Corporation, (Cardinal), with offices located across the country.
"When I learned about Cardinal's capabilities and reputation, it was clear that I did not want to take a chance on moving my prized pumpkins by any other means. I was hopeful that my harvest would break a record and did not want to chance an accident," said Jutras.
In early September, Jutras spoke with Cardinal Logistics Management Regional Manager, Jason Cardoza, who offered the services of his company. Cardinal Logistics Management specializes in dedicated contract carriage, warehousing and inventory management, transportation technology solutions, and is a recognized industry leader of 'final mile' home and jobsite deliveries. Although this was unusual cargo for Cardinal Logistics, which typically transports and warehouses product for clients like Office Depot, Kraftmaid Cabinetry, 7-Eleven, Mill's Pride, Lowe's and many others, the logistics leader knew exactly how to properly secure and safely transfer Jutras' precious cargo to its intended destination.
With much care, a Cardinal Logistics Management driver lifted the 1,689- pound beauty and the rest of the harvest by harness, secured them on pallets and loaded all four giant treasures on a flatbed, ready for their journey to safe storage. The harnessing and loading process took three hours, and the result was a pretty happy champion pumpkin harvester.
"It was a pleasure to be able to help Joe out with his challenge. Cardinal is a world-leader in the transport of large, bulky, hard to handle, and valuable product," said Skip Stritzinger, senior vice president of sales for Cardinal. "Helping Joe with his prized pumpkin was a natural. It was a thrill to witness his achievement and his pride as the new world record holder."
Jutras' record-breaking pumpkin is currently on display in a glass case at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Mass. Its destination from there is yet to be determined.