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See a 1,500-pound pumpkin in Tampa — the largest in Florida

“It’s about as big as you can get before they start to get deformed,” said the owner of Bearss Groves, who has made pumpkin hunting an annual adventure.
 
Bearss Groves has done it again. This year's giant pumpkin is 1,500 pounds.
Bearss Groves has done it again. This year's giant pumpkin is 1,500 pounds. [ Courtesy of Bearss Groves ]
Published Oct. 13, 2023|Updated Oct. 16, 2023

Bearss Groves is no stranger to gigantic gourds.

The family farm stand at 4316 Lake Magdalene Blvd., Tampa, has made harvesting enormous pumpkins a fall tradition. This year’s is the biggest yet: 1,500 pounds.

“Bring your family, friends and pets to see the largest pumpkin in all of Florida up close and personal,” Bearss Groves posted on Facebook this week. “Photos are always free!”

The pumpkin arrived Thursday and is already on display at the farm stand, dwarfing the memory of last year’s 969-pound behemoth.

“It’s probably the nicest one we have so far,” said Barry Lawrance, owner of Bearss Groves. “Perfect size, perfect shape. The color is just a little bit off. ... It’s about as big as you can get before they start to get deformed.”

Lawrance has been at Bearss Groves since he was a teenager, and has developed a robust strategy for pumpkin hunting since he bought the business with his wife, Courtney, in 2006.

Here are several photos of mammoth pumpkins at Bearss Groves over the years. On the left, a pale pumpkin in 2014. In the middle, the 2017 pumpkin. On the right, Barry and Courtney Lawrance pose with their two children in front of the 2020 pumpkin.
Here are several photos of mammoth pumpkins at Bearss Groves over the years. On the left, a pale pumpkin in 2014. In the middle, the 2017 pumpkin. On the right, Barry and Courtney Lawrance pose with their two children in front of the 2020 pumpkin. [ Courtesy of Barry Lawrance ]

This year, he traveled to Michigan to find his prize pumpkin, which took first place in a contest for its size.

“They’re very labor intensive,” he told the Tampa Bay Times last year. “You literally baby these things for months. They build shelters over them. They pad them in Styrofoam as they’re growing.”

Lawrance expects the crowds to come in next week, as the weather cools down.

“People alway talk about their yearly pictures with the pumpkins,” said Lawrance, who does the same with his own family. “It’s a good tradition to start if you’re not doing it already.”

Michael Plahs, of Tampa, takes a picture of the giant pumpkin at Bearss Groves on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Tampa.
Michael Plahs, of Tampa, takes a picture of the giant pumpkin at Bearss Groves on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Tampa. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]

If you go see the giant pumpkin

Bearss Groves is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The pumpkin patch is free to visit, and the giant pumpkin should be on display until Halloween or so. bearssgroves.com.