The 2010 Guinness Book of World Records has just been released. It got me thinking about how proud I am to live in a state that consistently shatters world records, and not in one of the less salubrious categories, like "number of goldfish swallowed" or "heaviest weight dangled from a swallowed sword." Instead, Alaska is home of the giant vegetables!
When I was in 5th grade back in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., I remember seeing a filmstrip on "The Bounty of Alaska." It showed how everything in Alaska was bigger, from the mountains to the mammals. What really stuck with me, however, was the narrator commenting that, in Alaska, "they have strawberries as big as your fist." After being here ten years, I have yet to see a fist-sized strawberry, but I am delighted to see so many mammoth-sized vegetables year after year at the Alaska State Fair.
At this year's fair, Steve Hubacek broke a 20-year record for world's largest cabbage on September 2nd for his 125.9-pound cabbage entered in the "Green Cabbage" category. This gorgeous, perfectly formed cabbage just squeaked by the previous record of 124 pounds set by a farmer in Wales. Before that, the record hadn't been touched for more than one hundred years. Then, out of nowhere - oops, he did it again! Three days later, Steve H. brought in another cabbage to compete in the state fair's annual Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off. Dubbed "The Beast," this monster broke Steve's previously set record when it weighed in at 127 pounds, winning him the grand prize of $2000.
Overshadowed by its larger and more glamorous cabbage cousins, another vegetable waited quietly and patiently for its shot at fame. Then - BOOM - another record-breaker at the Alaska State Fair! On September 5th, Scott Robb's 82.9-pound rutabaga blew the roof off of the previous world record of 77.8 pounds. However, Scott R. is no stranger to giant vegetable fame. In 2007, he set the record for the world's largest kale. This little beauty weighed in at a delicate 105.9 pounds. He also set records in 2006, twice in 2004, and in 2003 with record-breaking kohlrabi, cantaloupe, turnip, and celery respectively.
Sadly, these entries will not be included in the newly released 2010 Guinness Book of World Records because their records are so new and still in the verification process with Guinness. Stew anyone?