Size definitely matters in this competition, where veteran veggie farmers battle it out to present their heaviest and longest vegetables.
Rivalries both fierce and friendly resurface each year as they try to one-up each other at the CANNA UK National Giant Vegetables Championship in Malvern, Worcestershire, UK.
However, the growers and showers aren’t just competing for the 1st place prize in their respective categories. Guinness World Records titles regularly change hands at this annual event, with 2021 being no different.
We sent our Editor-in-Chief, Craig Glenday, to see how many record-breaking veggies he could find.
This oversized aubergine weighs 3.12 kg (6 lb 14 oz), and was grown by Peter Glazebrook, from Nottinghamshire, UK.
Although you may recognize him from the ‘onion man’ meme, Peter grows more than just big bulbs.
As one of the most accomplished growers of giant vegetables ever, he’s broken 17 records to date.
His girthy eggplant has come to be the newest member of his record collection.
In the face of stiff competition this year, Peter’s eggplant was hailed as not just the heaviest in the room, but the heaviest in the entire world. It will be very hard to beat.
“It’s bigger than my head - and that’s saying something.” Craig observed.
It weighed 60 g (3 oz) more than the previous record eggplant, which belonged to rival grower Ian Neale.
Peter also won 1st place in the categories for the heaviest kohlrabi, heaviest onion, heaviest carrot and longest runner bean, as well as a slew of 2nd and 3rd place prizes.
But it’s not about the money for Peter – it’s about taking part and, more importantly, winning.
“That recognition is worth a lot to me.”
The world’s heaviest marrow, weighing 116.4 kg (256 lb 9.8 oz), was also crowned at this year’s event.
Smashing the previous record by 22.7 kg (50 lb), it is equivalent in weight to a giant panda or a baby elephant.
Similar to courgettes or zucchinis, marrows are an oblong, green squash, although they have a firm rind and a neutral flavour.
The monster marrow was grown by Vincent Sjodin, from Barry Island, South Wales.
He attributes its superlative size to fish heads and guts in his compost, in addition to liquid seaweed and “plenty of love and care.”
Heaviest broad bean (pod)
Weighing 106 g (3.74 oz), this is the world’s heaviest broad bean pod (also known as the fava or faba bean).
It was grown by Joe Atherton, who is more than just a broad bean breeder. The man from Mansfield has broken 16 Guinness World Records titles to date – just one fewer than Peter.
“Dedication. It’s 365 days a year; 24/7.” – Joe Atherton
This record category was newly established this year. Beans weighed for competition must be enclosed in their pods, not separated into individual seeds/ovules.
Known as the king of long veg, Joe also broke the record for the world’s longest leek.
Prior to the 2021 Championship, he held five records for vegetable length: beetroot, white salsify, parsnip, carrot and radish.
Measuring an astonishing 1.36 m (4 ft 5.5 in), Joe’s long leek is almost tall enough to ride rollercoasters.
The record was previously held by Peter, who grew a leek measuring 1.22 m (4 ft) in 2020.
Peter and Joe are both included in Guinness World Records 2022 – you can find them on page 96!