Vegetable freak shows

-- Photo byDavid Politzer

-- Photo byDavid Politzer


From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in

Many years ago, when I worked at the Boston Herald Traveler (RIP), I was amused that late summer and early fall brought lots of phone calls from gardeners and farmers claiming that they had grown the world’s largest vegetable – be it a tomato, a cucumber, a pumpkin,  a gourd, etc.

So reading about the achievement of Joe Jutras, of Scituate, R.I., in reportedly growing a world-record-size pumpkin, a record-long gourd and the heaviest squash was a nice nostalgia trip. Of course, while Mr. Jutras’s huge vegetables are impressive (if useless), it’s very unlikely that they’d be considered records if all of the world’s many millions of farmers could have submitted their freaks.

But what do vegetables of these sizes taste like?