The Field

MORE THAN YOUR FIVE A DAY

If you don’t frequent country shows or have green fingers, you may be unaware of a phenomenon sweeping through the Shires, stimulating more double entendres than a Carry On film, smashing world records and with a cult following among all ages. The cause of all this rural excitement is giant vegetable growing. These whoppers need to be seen to be believed. I watched pumpkins being delivered to the Malvern Autumn Show, home of the CANNA UK National Giant Vegetables Championship, on fork-lift trucks. They can reach in excess of 1,600lb (114st) – and it’s not just the pumpkins that are gargantuan: the 2018 show saw six world veg records broken.

As with many great British traditions, the giant vegetable movement was started in a local pub over a pint in the 1980s. Mike Fortey, a keen vegetable grower, challenged his fellow drinkers to grow the largest onion; from there, it was a short step to pumpkins. When it reached a point that they couldn’t fit them through the pub doors to be judged, they decided that they

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