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Monster veg on way to Malvern
GIANT pumpkins, carrots as long as your leg and runner beans that seem to run farther than Mo Farah will all be on display at Malvern Autumn Show this weekend.
The two-day event on the Three Counties Showground features the finals of the UK National Giant Vegetables Championship and for anyone whose tomatoes are the size of marbles they are an eye opener.
Ten huge pumpkins, lovingly nurtured and carefully transported from all parts of the country by amateur growers, are among a bumper crop of 270 giant vegetables, ranging from parsnips, onions and marrows, to leeks, carrots and runner beans.
The competition makes its debut at the Autumn Show this year, following its move from Somerset’s Royal Bath and West Showground, where it has been staged since 1997.
The giants will arrive on the showground, which lies at Blackmore in the shadow of the famous Malvern Hills, on Friday on the eve of the two-day show, where they will be carefully transported by fork lift truck and weighed in, courtesy of industrial strength scales.
Show communications manager Sharon Gilbert said: “Pumpkins are indigenous to the western hemisphere and were completely unknown in Europe before the time of Columbus, although they have been grown in America for more than 5,000 years.
“They are probably best known over here for their association with Halloween, when they are hollowed out to hold candles.
“But you could almost put a street lamp in some of these they are so large.
“Like gourds and other varieties of squash, they belong to the Cucurbitacae family, which also includes cucumbers and gherkins, and in the peak growing season a giant pumpkin can gain 50lbs in weight per day.”
The new competition complements the show’s already famous amateur growing exhibition of fruits, vegetables and cut flowers, on display and about 60,000 visitors are expected over Saturday and Sunday.
The event is a celebration of food, gardening and nostalgia, and features one of the largest gatherings of amateur growers in the country.
Each year it takes delivery of some of the UK’s largest produce.
Open gardening is just one of a whole host of features at the 2013 show, which includes a Good Life Pavilion with edible gardens and Britain’s favourite baker Mary Berry as a headline guest on Saturday.
Other attractions include a vintage village with free jive lessons, grow your own demonstrations, a Royal Horticultural Flower Show, a cookery theatre, an artisan food market, native livestock, country pursuits and crafts, a children’s discovery zone, family entertainment and about 600 quality trade stands offering special end-of-season bargains.
l For more on what’s for foodies and cooks at this year’s show see tomorrow’s Worcester News.
Malvern Autumn Show at the Three Counties Showground is on Saturday and Sunday.
Adult admission £16.50 and children (five-15) £6.50 on both days. Open 9am-6pm.
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