It’s been another successful year for the growers at the annual Harrogate Autumn Show and the Giant Vegetable Competition.
Single tomatoes big enough to feed the whole family, to cabbages that would keep an entire street fed for months.
Joe Atherton from Nottinghamshire took the 1st prize for the Heaviest Tomato, weighing just under 4lb, and a £1,000 cheque. His tips for growing such a whopper, “A dedicated wife.”
Mr Atherton, who had a heart attack earlier this year, is no stranger to the world of giant veg. He has secured three world records and numerous other prizes in categories such as Longest Carrot, Longest Beetroot, Longest Parsnip and Longest Runner Bean.
The winning tomato will now undergo DNA testing to establish whether it is a certain variety which is needed for this category. Asked his thoughts on such testing, Joe replied, “I’ve got nothing to worry about. It stops cheating doesn’t it. Most giant veg growers are honest, we’re all very friendly.”
A cheque for £1,000 was also presented to Mr Atherton who remarked, “Go ask the wife, she’ll tell you how we’ll spend it.”
A colourful character on the scene, and not just for his shirts, is Ian Neale from Newport in Wales. This year he took first prize for growing the Heaviest Cabbage at 24.2kg.
But Ian didn’t stop there. He also took first prize for the Heaviest Beetroot, weighing 14.14kg.
One show grower new to the scene was surprised to learn that his pumpkin won Heaviest Pumpkin at 230kg. Mr Brian Marshall from Nottingham grew the pumpkin using his seed he bought off the internet.
“I grew it in an old onion bed which had plenty of manure and I fed it nitrogen. It’s the first time I’ve ever grown a pumpkin!”
Winner of the Heaviest Onion Championship, Mrs Barbara Cook, from Nottingley, with her entry weighing 13lb 9.5 oz (6.165kg).
The stand of the National Vegetable Society, West Yorkshire District Association, won Premiere Gold for displaying a high quality standard of vegetables. Society member and popular radio presenter/author Joe Maiden sadly died on Thursday morning after a long battle with prostate cancer. Vegetables grown by Mr Maiden and other members were used as part of the display.
Due to the poor weather this year with warm days and cold nights, no world records were broken this year, unlike previous years. Despite that, the Harrogate Autumn Show is a firm favourite on the show growers calendar.