A Record-Setting Watermelon

Forklift maintenanceForklift operators are used to lifting heavy things. Thanks to the wide variety of forklift attachments available, moving such unwieldy objects as paper rolls or barrels filled with liquid is as easy as picking up a cup of coffee for most experienced drivers.

But a forklift operator in Montgomery, Alabama, recently used his vehicle to pick up what was almost certainly one of the most unusual loads he has ever hauled: A 241.5 pound watermelon.

10th Largest Watermelon in the World

The melon was grown by Spencer Glasgow, 24, of Bessemer, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, as his entry in the Alabama National Fair. He hauled the enormous green watermelon to the fairgrounds in the back of a pickup truck. A forklift operator then removed the giant fruit from the truck and carried it to the display area.

So how do you lift a 241-5 pound watermelon using a forklift? Very, very carefully.

The watermelon easily won the blue ribbon at the fair, seeing as it was the largest watermelon ever grown in Alabama and the 10th largest watermelon in the world.

The Underachieving Pumpkin

It took Glasgow just 88 days to grow the enormous fruit. He started by taking the seeds of another giant watermelon he grew last year — that one weighed in at a measly 109 pounds — and then waiting until the season’s first frost before planting the seeds. He plans to use the same strategy next year and hopes to get another watermelon that’s even bigger.

Glasgow’s family’s side yard is usually reserved for growing gargantuan, award-winning fruits and vegetables. In addition to the watermelon, Glasgow also entered a 700 pound pumpkin into competition. (Scrawny by pumpkin standards, it didn’t win.)

“It has literally taken over the backyard,” Glasgow told WSFA-TV  in Montgomery. He added that Alabama’s climate is ideal for growing huge watermelon, although not as good for great pumpkins.

Enough Watermelon to Feed the Whole Church Picnic

In season, watermelon is pound-for-pound one of the most affordable of all produce. But while Glasgow wouldn’t say how much he invested in growing his giant fruit, he would admit, “You definitely spend more than you get back.”

After all the awards ceremony has finished and all the blue ribbons have been handed out and packed away, the lone forklift sits idling, ready to return Glasgow’s giant watermelon to the back of his pickup.

So what happens now?

“We’ll take it home,” Glasgow said. “We’ll get the seeds. Maybe we’ll eat our way through it.”

Doesn’t the size of the watermelon affect its taste? Anyone who has accidentally left a zucchini to grown to an enormous size can tell you that the insides of the big ones are usually mushy.

“Sometimes you get a good one,” Glasgow said of his over-sized watermelon. “Sometimes it won’t be fit to eat.”

If his watermelon is edible, he’s going to need an awfully big family to finish it all. Maybe he can take it to the church picnic.

Hoping for a Bigger Watermelon Next Year

Still, it’s not the meat of the watermelon that matters most to Glasgow: It’s the seeds. He’s hoping that next year they will yield a watermelon that’s even larger.

“It was on a pace to be a little bigger than what it ended up,” Glasgow said, blaming a late summer drought on his underachieving watermelon. “We can only hope for 250 pounds next year.”

If he grows a watermelon any bigger, a forklift may not be big enough. Next year, he may need to rent a crane.

 

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