Virginia Man Breaks World Record With Monster Butternut Squash

by Taylor Cunningham
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A Virginia man recently smashed the world record for the world’s largest butternut squash. But his victory was short-lived.

Expert gardener Paul Jarosh had no idea that he had a champion butternut squash budding in his garden this summer. As he told Fox News, he was focused on cultivating massive pumpkins while the future world record winner was right under his nose—growing by as much as a foot a week.

Eventually, the squash grew too large to miss. And Jarosh turned all of his attention to helping it reach its full potential. The Culpeper County resident fed the gourd fertilizer, covered it with a tarp when it rained, and wrapped it in bedsheets to keep the sun from charring it.

When heavy rains flooded the state shortly before it was due at the State Fair of Virginia, he moved a fan into the garden and dried the massive fruit. And in the end, he had 103-pound butternut squash, which was 40 lbs heavier than the champion it dethroned.

The Guinness Book of World Records etched Paul Jarosh’s name in history for the feat. However, he only enjoyed the fame for seven days.

As it turned out, Jarosh had a friend in Michigan who was also growing massive butternut squash. And he had been taking notes from Jarosh as he worked to plump his own. When it came time for his weigh-in, he beat Jarosh by 1.5 pounds.

Fortunately, Jarosh wasn’t too worried about being upstaged by a friend.

“He’s a much more experienced grower than I am,” he told the publication. “It made more sense for him to have the world record than me. I just planted it in the garden because I thought it was cool.”

Jarosh Hopes to ‘Bring the World Record’ Butternut Squash ‘Back to Virginia Next Year’

Jarosh has been gardening since he was a kid. However, it wasn’t until this year that he tried his hands at growing record-breaking produce. He said the idea came when he realized that he was growing more food than he and his wife, Maryellen, could eat each year.

So he converted a portion of his garden into a project and planted giant pumpkins and other ornamental gourds.

“I had no intention of breaking a world record for butternut squash,” he continued. “But this one grew so rapidly, I knew I had something.”

Along with the temporary record breaker, Jarosh also grew a 230-pound pumpkin that earned sixth place at the fair and a 174.5-pound bushel gourd that won first in its division.

Jarosh is planning to save seeds from his award-winning produce in hopes of growing more champions next year. But he won’t keep all the goods for himself. He hopes to hand them out to his neighbors and create a friendly competition between them.

“I’m hoping to bring the world record back to Virginia next year,” he added, “even if it’s not by me.”