Community Festival winner breaks record

Goodrich's gourd weighs in at 1,560 pounds
By: Martha Garcia and Michael Kirby, Colfax Record
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Keith Goodrich’s entry in the 2012 Auburn Community Festival was a record-breaker. His 1,560-pound gourd not only shattered the previous record of 1,293 pounds set last year at the festival, it was also the heftiest Placer County pumpkin ever grown, according to festival records. Goodrich, of Meadow Vista, won the $1,000 first-place prize, as well as an additional $500 for growing the largest pumpkin. In another competition at the Oct. 20 festival, held annually at the Auburn Recreation Park, Joanne and Max Naegele won second place in the scarecrow contest. The couple, from the Applegate-Meadow Vista area, earned $800 for their “Pumpkin Habitat Garden” entry. Goodrich, a civil engineer in Sacramento County, said growing the award-winning Atlantic Giant pumpkin required daily attention. “I’m gone all day … I spend about one hour each evening tending to the pumpkin,” he said. Goodrich grew two plants this year. He entered the “smaller” 1,478-pound pumpkin in the Elk Grove Community Festival, where he took second place. “We had a good year,” he said. Advice he would share with future giant pumpkin growers is to test the soil. “It needs the right balance of organic material and calcium and potassium and other nutrients,” Goodrich said. Goodrich has been entering the pumpkin-growing contest since 2005 and his last entry, weighing 1,285.5 pounds, was the winner of the 2010 Auburn competition. He attributes his latest success to not growing pumpkins in 2011 and plans to do the same next year. “I’m going to take next year off,” he said. “Let the pumpkin patch rejuvenate itself.” As for the fate of the two gourds he grew this year, they’ve gone on to entertain others at a pumpkin-carving contest. “Our pumpkins are at a casino in Tuolumne County currently being carved up,” Goodrich said.