IT was “what a whopper” three times over at the Malvern Autumn Show as records in the giant vegetable classes went tumbling.
This summer’s exceptional growing conditions brought world records for the heaviest swede and longest parsnip, and there was also a British record for the heaviest carrot.
The super harvest also meant top entries in the commercial apple and pear classes, although the weather proved a double-edged sword for orchard growers Broomfields of Holt Heath, which usually does well at the event.
This autumn their crop was so heavy, picking it left no time to prepare for the twoday event on the Three Counties Showground.
In Broomfields’ absence, Clive’s Fruit Farm of Upper Hook, Upton-upon-Severn swept the board, taking no less than seven first prizes in the 11 commercial fruit classes and a best in show with a collection of Gala apples.
“This year has been absolutely right for fruit growing,”
explained Jonathan Blackman, commercial fruit section steward.
“The season was late, which meant the blossom was late and missed nearly all the frosts that damage it. Then there was a sunny dry period followed by rain at just the right time. It was ideal and we are seeing the results in the quality and quantity of the exhibits this year.”
Ian Neale, 77, from Newport in South Wales gained a world record with his swede which weighed a massive 120lbs (54kg) and a British record for the weight of his carrot at 18lbs 6ozs (8.35kg).
“It’s been an excellent growing season. One of the best I have ever known,” he said.
There was also a world record for Peter Glazebrook from Nottingham, a frequent winner at the show, with his 19.5 foot (5.930m) parsnip.
Exhibitors came from all across the UK and the largest vegetable on display was a massive 40 stone (255kg) pumpkin grown by David Thomas of Hayle, Cornwall.
Best in show in the commercial fruit juice classes was a bottle of single variety apple juice from Mill Orchards at Great Witley.
There were also top quality exhibits in the Royal Horticultural Society floral marquee where judges awarded 30 gold medals.
Among the winners were Grafton Nursery, of Grafton Flyford, for a display of eucalyptus and Fibrex Nurseries of Pebworth with a collection of hedera and ferns.
Organiser the Three Counties Agricultural Society was hoping for a total attendance topping 60,000, with none of the celebrity guests more popular than Mary Berry.
The star of hit television series The Great British Bake Off was surrounded by crowds wherever she went during a four-hour visit.
She said: “It’s absolutely marvellous. Everyone seems so happy and there is a wonderful atmosphere.”
Show communications manager Sharon Gilbert said: “This is one thing about the Autumn Show, It has an end of term feel to it and we were so pleased that Mary was able to come and be the cherry on our cake.”