vegging out

OK, think fast: What is this thing?

  1. A space alien, recently discovered hidden at Area 51
  2. A new species of squid, washed ashore in Australia
  3. A parsnip


Answer: 3. Congratulations to this parsnip, which recently won the “Ugliest Vegetable” competition sponsored by Britain’s National Trust. Said a representative of the Trust,

This competition was designed to show that we shouldn’t judge a vegetable on its looks and we should challenge the image of the cosmetically perfect and well-formed vegetables found in many of our supermarkets.

The competition was part of the British Food Fortnight, which is an annual event that this year runs from Sept. 23 – Oct. 5 with the goal of “putting the ‘000’ back into food!”

The rules for the competition are almost as entertaining as the resulting veg. For instance, the Trust offers the following “Top tips on growing Ugly Veg”:

  • Root-crops often become misshapen if grown on hard, compacted or stony ground. In the same way they develop fibrous β€˜forked’ roots if grown in over manured or composted ground.
  • Overcrowding a crop by sowing thickly and not thinning can help onions, for example to become misshapen.
  • Irregular watering can help distort both fruits and root-crops.
  • Subjecting plants to low temperatures such as frost or high daytime temperature ranges can cause twisted and distorted fruits, especially in those that love a more even temperature, such as tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes and gourds.

Makes you want to go out and start distorting some tomatoes, doesn’t it?

Other winning veggies are pictured here. I’m particularly taken with Potato Man, the winner in the age 5-7 category:


3 responses to “vegging out

  1. I didn’t guess what it was. I suppose distorted vegetables could possibly become an art form with its own terminology, schools and critics. The mind boggles. Then again, would it be so different from bonzai?

    I have a particular interest in vegetables, being a vegetarian. I am not too sure how I would react to seeing the illustrated veggies on my plate. I might feel too sorry for the potato man in particular to be able to eat him πŸ™‚

    Anyway, I’m glad to know that my homeland is so prominent in the field (pardon the pun) of ugly vegetables. We lose everything else so winning at this new sport would be a welcome triumph πŸ™‚


  2. That is most definitely something I coughed up this morning.



  3. >>That is most definitely something I coughed up this morning. >>

    Ewww! πŸ˜€ It certainly looks more like something my dogs would drag in than something yummy.

    I especially enjoyed reading about this contest in light of the Wallace and Gromit movie “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” which is filled with references to the British obsession with big and beautiful home-grown veg. Rule Brittania!

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