Vermont zuke in the running for world record

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 3:22 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - One Vermonter is receiving world recognition for his gardening skills after growing a record-breaking zucchini. So how did he do it? Our Ike Bendavid went digging for answers.

Right off of Route 2 in Montpelier, the Agway has a sign that announces a big deal -- a 115-pound giant zucchini.

Store employee and Williamstown resident Ron Sholtz has a full table of large vegetables and gourds on display, but it’s his zuke that is attracting attention. It’s a new Vermont state record and is getting some worldwide attention.

“All around the world they weigh these giant zucchinis off and there must be 50 to 60 entries right now and currently I’m number one in the world,” Sholtz said.

He says his passion for gardening grew after he attended a large vegetable weigh-off. Since then he is setting and breaking records. Large veggie enthusiasts may have seen his 1,100-pound pumpkin at the Statehouse a few years ago.

“I pretty much did what I wanted to do. I wanted to expand, and things are expanding.” Sholtz said.

He hopes to hold on to have the largest zucchini of 2020 and continue to break records in the upcoming years.

So what’s the secret? “First thing - perfect soil... plus, you can’t forget to water your garden,” Sholtz said. “I can’t control the heat -- which was perfect this year -- but I can control the water.”

And of course, some good conversation and care. “Ask my wife, I go down there in the morning, got to talk to it of course. And then at night is when I take care of it,” Sholtz explained.

Usually, the giant vegetables are displayed at the fair, but with no fairs this year because of the pandemic, they’ll be displayed at the Agway. “This is our option that we have this year and people love stopping by and looking at them,” Sholtz said.

People like Rita Williams of Barre. “This is amazing what can grow in Vermont and just grow out of our own gardens,” she said.

“It is definitely very cool. I know everybody always talks about how the zucchini takes over the garden. My gosh, if this had taken over the garden with others the same size, could you imagine?” said Kathey Boyles of Florida.

So will Sholtz eat his prize zuke and other gourds? The answer is no. He says they’ll stay on display till they start to rot, then he’ll take the seeds and save them for next year. The local pigs get what’s left.

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