Passion for Pumpkins: Local Farmer on Lifelong Mission to Grow World’s Biggest Pumpkin

“It’s part of the ongoing quest to have the world's largest pumpkin.”

A passion for pumpkins: farmer Nic Welty, from 9 Bean Rows is on a lifelong mission to grow the most gorgeous and gigantic gourds the world has ever seen.

The Suttons Bay farmer has multiple degrees in genetics and a childhood love of pumpkins. He’s been engineering, breeding, growing and selling specialized pumpkin seeds for 25 years.

His biggest pumpkin was more than 1,400 pounds. Currently, he has an 1,100 pounder on display at his plot in Leelanau county.

He sells and sometimes gives away his seeds. But mostly, this is a hobby which he loves.

“Somehow, they just fascinate me. I love fall, I love the fall colors the crispness in the air…and pumpkins are integral, I think,” said Welty. “Pumpkins are really the biggest, most extreme thing you can try to grow so if you’re going to go for it, you’ve got to go for it all.”

He says he likes the challenge and excitement every fall. This year is special, because he has plans to continue growing his sizeable seeds through the winter.

He drove some plants and a pumpkin “clone” down to an island in Florida where they’ll continue growing big for him to check on again in the spring.Screen Shot 2020 10 30 At 5.02.04 Pm

“I decided to set the bar a little higher…so not only do I want this pumpkin to be ginormous, but I don’t want it to look like a fat person’s belly that landed on the sidewalk, right? So a beautiful pumpkin, and be the world’s largest pumpkin!” he said.

The Guinness Book of World Records says the biggest pumpkin was more than 2,600 pounds.Screen Shot 2020 10 30 At 5.00.53 Pm

Welty has his specialty, jumbo pumpkin seeds available for customers at his farm. Be sure to take a picture with the giant gourd in the garden, too!