Each autumn in villages all across Britain, marquees fill up with giant vegetables of every description - onions the size of cannonballs, carrots like drainpipes, pumpkins that could sink a ship. In what seems a peculiarly British tradition (though it also thrives in North America), gardeners compete fiercely against one another for the honour of ...
Each autumn in villages all across Britain, marquees fill up with giant vegetables of every description - onions the size of cannonballs, carrots like drainpipes, pumpkins that could sink a ship. In what seems a peculiarly British tradition (though it also thrives in North America), gardeners compete fiercely against one another for the honour of having grown the largest specimen, with frequently comic results. These monstrous vegetables are the result of a year's dedicated feeding and cosseting, usually conducted in secrecy, with potential prize-winners being guarded against saboteurs as the autumn show approaches. To produce a carrot more than 17 feet long and get it to the show bench undamaged requires a level of strategic planning comparable to a military campaign. It is a bizarre world with more than a little of The League of Gentlemen about it. In The Biggest Beetroot in the World Michael Leapman explores the strange community of giant vegetable growers, closely shadowing the four leading competitors through an entire season as they prepare for the 2007 shows. Published to coincide with the 2008 autumn shows, this is the fascinating tale of a very British extreme sport and the men who play by its rules. Michael Leapman, the former Times journalist, is the author of several highly praised works of non-fiction including The World for a Shilling: How the Great Exhibition of 1851 Shaped a Nation, The Ingenious Mr Fairchild and Inigo: The Troubled Life of Inigo Jones, as well as the prize-winning Companion Guide to New York. He lives in London.
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