Mutant Veggies at the Fall Fair (2009)

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Turnout in the mutant vegetable competition at The Royal Winter Fair was disappointingly lackluster this year. I don’t know if it was the poor weather this season, or a waning lack of interest in growing monstrous, overgrown produce, but it seems that the competition fell from an abundantly healthy display in years past to the above six, pathetic contenders.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
To be fair, I don’t recall having seen Siamese twin cucumbers before and was quite impressed. But the duck shaped potato that in my humble opinion stole first place from the Siamese twin cucumbers… PLEASE.

I should have entered my sweet potatoes, however we ate them all up soon after harvesting. The entire crop grew into twisted puzzle pieces that together could do a decent imitation of stomach intestines. Take THAT potato duck! I’m crafting myself a mental grand prize ribbon as I write this.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

I pretty much only go to The Royal for the mutant veg, so thank god for the adjacent table of whale-sized squashes and melons or I would have been forced to demand a refund.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
Look at the size of this thing! We put a quarter next to it for size comparison. At this size vegetables tend to morph but I’d hazard a guess that it’s a butternut squash.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

I don’t know what they’ve got in their soil, but two of these three jumbo squashes were grown by competitors with the same last name. The biggest one is listed as a ‘long gourd’ or ‘Sicilian zucchini’ and comes in at 9ft 10.25.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
It was held to the support structure with camo duct tape, a detail that won my heart. Automatic win! No, I wasn’t a judge. However, if there is a fall fair that would have me, I’d be very into it!

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
I neglected to record the weight of these larger than life-sized apples.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Enormous sunflowers and corn: one of my favourite categories.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved
And last but not least, the giant pumpkins.

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

These potatoes were a part of the regular produce competition. They looked so fake from what I deem to be excessive polishing, that I actually had to touch them to prove they weren’t made of plastic. That friends, is weirder to me than a Siamese twin cucumber.


Not vegetable related but equally fascinating:

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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13 thoughts on “Mutant Veggies at the Fall Fair (2009)

  1. That’s too bad it was so lacklustre. SIX entries! Yeesh! But the height of that corn is friggin AMAZING. Did you get the variety name?

  2. This is totally rad. Three of my favorite things, mutant plants, giant pumpkins and sunflowers. I don’t think I could’ve attended without tossing my set of keys at the head of that giant sunflower in the hopes of some seeds falling out of it.

    I can picture Chicago’s brownfields covered in those giant sunflowers and people in those communities not being able to resist learning more about plants.

  3. Last weekend, I walked past a house in the outskirts of Hamilton with three giant pumpkins on skids in the driveway. All I had was my little pocket camera, so the quick shot I snapped is lousy. However, one of them coulda been a contenda here, with a posted weight of 1120 lbs. That’s a whole mess of pies.

  4. ooo… While I’m a sucker for the fleece auctions at the end of the fair, I do enjoy me some mutant vegetables… Did you see Rick Mercer’s bit about giant pumpkins a couple weeks ago? ( Makes me sad that those pumpkins don’t go on to contend in other fairs, but still fun to watch!

  5. Bridget: Interesting. Davin was speculating that the mutant veg competition was lackluster because maybe the losers took their produce in an attempt to try their luck somewhere else.

  6. I had one of those double cucumbers this year too. I wonder how that happens. I have never seen one before either! The mutant veggies would be my favorite part of the fair too!

  7. Ciao Gayla-

    We thought the giant veggies were hiding somewhere. We met John Vincent from Picton, ON, the winner of the giant pumpkin, though. Very nice guy and super excited about growing giant squashes. My new goal is to learn how to braid onions and garlic. Did you see those prize-winning braids? They were gorgeous! You couldn’t see the rope beneath the onions at all.

    I confess to being all about the cowwies when it comes to the Royal, though. We saw some breeds this year that we normally miss like the Charolais, Galloway, and Maine Anjou. We even saw the Prince, an unexpected treat.

    I can tell you that they had more livestock this year than ever before. Some cows left right after their shows to make room for others.

    I’ll have to post my photos once they’re out of the camera and into the computer. The cutest miniature brahma cowwies ever stole MY heart.

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