McCracken giant squash

La Grande resident Mary McCracken poses Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, with her 51-inch, 55-pound jumbo pink banana squash, and her second and third largest harvests of the season. McCracken said she did not intend to grow such large vegetables and hopes to find a way to turn them into a charitable donation.

LA GRANDE — When Mary McCracken of La Grande went out to harvest her garden Monday, Oct. 12, she got a big surprise. She discovered some of the squash she had planted had grown larger than she intended. Much larger.

The largest of the plants measures 51 inches long and weighs 55 pounds. She also harvested two more large squashes, a long squash measuring 36 inches and 40 pounds, and a 36-pound round one with a nearly 48-inch circumference.

McCracken said she has not decided yet what she will do with the giant vegetables.

“I would love to turn it into a fundraiser of some kind, so if anyone has any ideas they should reach out to me,” McCracken said.

McCracken planted the jumbo pink banana squashes at her house in the spring along with peppers, tomatoes, berries and corn. For McCracken, planting these vegetables and fruit is a form of therapy. She said when COVID-19 regulations required people to stay at home, she had to decide if she should spend her time gardening or cleaning the house.

“Given the choice, I’ll pick gardening,” she said.

Growing the squash so large was not intentional, McCracken said. However, she is happy and excited with how big they grew by the time she picked them.

She said she likes to grow her own food more than buying from the market because she doesn’t totally trust the agriculture industry. She said all of the food she eats is locally sourced, including meat.

“I like to know where my food is from, where it has been and what has happened to it,” McCracken said. “Plus it keeps the money in the valley.”

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