Danny Vester of Spring Hope grows them big. The Nash County native is the only North Carolinian to grow three pumpkins weighing more than 1,200 pounds each, breaking the state record twice.

To add another accolade, last month at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, Vester broke the world record for largest cantaloupe previously set more than a decade ago at the Alaska State Fair.

For Vester, a retiree and cancer survivor, the prized cantaloupe represents months of pampering that included hiding it under leafy branches and feeding it micronutrients.

He beamed when Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced the record-breaking weight for his cantaloupe, a pound heavier than the old 64.8-pound mark set in Alaska in 2004, according to the Guinness World Records.

“You can usually spot the one that’s going to be the best,” Vester said. “You might put more leaves on it than the others.”