Euope's hotter than usual summer took its toll on visitors, residents, tempers, zoo animals and even on gigantic pumpkins. This year;s winner of the annual Swiss pumpkin-growing competition weighed in at a mere 3/4 of a ton (750kg or 1653 lbs).
If that doesn't seem too small, the Guinness record holder, set last year in Germany, was 1054kg, or over 2300 lbs. On the other hand, this year's pumpkin weighs more than a Smart car...
Ben Meier, the Zurich farmer who won this year's pumpkin title was also the grower of last year's winner. He's good at this, mind you; he has won the Swiss contest in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 as well.
Contest officials pointed out that “Pumpkins need lots of water and grow best when the temperature is around 25C,” equivalent to about 87F. This summer's temperatures far topped that for weeks at a time.
Some other crops did well in the heat, though, with Swiss records broken by a 1.9kg (4.2 lb) carrot, a 7.6kg (16.75 lb) cucumber, and the biggest field pumpkin, at 31.7kg (70 lb). And elsewhere, a new European record for giant sunflowers was set, with a flower 66 cm (more than 2 feet across).