THE GREAT PUMPKIN Billy Boerboom shows a huge pumpkin he grew. The pumpkin is now on display at The Apple Barn on Jones Flat Road. Please see related story on Page A8 (John Arendt/Summerland Review)

Growing cherries, apples, pears — and big pumpkins

Boerboom worked to produce a massive melon from his Summerland farm

When Billy Boerboom planted pumpkins at his farm in spring, he wanted to see how big a single pumpkin could grow.

When he harvested the massive melon last week, he had it weighed. The pumpkin tipped the scales at 337 kilograms or 744 pounds.

He now has the pumpkin on display at The Apple Barn on Jones Flat Road.

Growing the pumpkin was a goal Boerboom had set for himself.

To grow the pumpkin, he did a lot of research and then ordered a special variety of seeds. After that, he tended the patch and watched the pumpkin grow… and grow… and grow.

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At the end of July, it was the size of a typical pumpkin used for carving.

If freezing temperatures had come a few days later than they did, Boerboom believes the pumpkin would have topped 450 kg. or 1,000 lbs.

For Boerboom, growing the large pumpkin was one of the things he enjoys about farming.

“I love a challenge. I love to try new things,” he said.

Boerboom grew up in a farming family. His parents had moved to Canada from the Netherlands in 1976 and soon started farming in Summerland.

In 1980, Boerboom started farming with his father, and in 1990, he started Windmill Garden Centre.

The Apple Barn was opened in 2001 as a way to sell good product at a fair price.

Today, Boerboom grows apples, cherries and pears on five hectares or 13 acres. The fruit is sold at The Apple Barn and to customers in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

“I was destined to do this,” Boerboom says about farming. “I’ve grown things my whole life.”

In addition to his work as a farmer, Boerboom is involved in the community and has supported local causes and initiatives. He has also been a volunteer firefighter for the past 30 years.

“It’s a real good feeling when you give back,” he said. “I think it’s so important to give back to a wonderful community.”

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