Spalding farmer grows Mickey Mouse pumpkins
A Lincolnshire farmer has grown a special crop of Mickey Mouse shaped pumpkins for Disneyland Paris.
David Bowman from Spalding, who claims to be Europe's largest pumpkin grower, was asked to supply the theme park's Halloween Festival.
The distinctive Mickey silhouette was achieved using a specially-designed mould fitted to the pumpkins in the early stages of growth.
Mr Bowman said he had grown many varieties but this was "a first."
Trial and error
"We've had a few challenges because of the bad summer this year, but we've grown a good Mickey crop," he said.
"They've turned out well, but because they are such an unusual shape people think they're fake."
The pumpkins have already gone on display at Disneyland Paris.
Mr Bowman said perfecting the Mickey shape had involved a lot of trial and error: "Two years ago we tried this and it failed miserably.
"In the first year it was the wrong variety and they didn't grow big enough in the mould. This year we have two different varieties and we've got some quite good results."
There are two parts to the pumpkin mould, according to Mr Bowman.
"You put the pumpkin into the bottom half, with a little hole in the end where the stalk goes through and then just bolt it together and hope that it grows as you want it to," he said.
"I suppose you could grow a pumpkin in any shape you like, really, if you produced the mould to put it in."
Mr Bowman's company used to grow a variety of produce, including marrows, courgettes and red cabbage, but at the end of the 1990s pumpkins became the company's main product.
He now sells more than two million each year to supermarkets in the UK and other suppliers across Europe.