Shropshire Star

Marrow, zucchini or courgette? Pumped up produce raffled at Church Stretton

It's not a marrow, it's 21-inch courgette.

Michael Bugiel from Ashlet Stores accepts the giant courgette for the raffle from grower Councillor Mike Walker. Pic: Lillian Tomlinson

That is the insistence of Church Stretton's deputy mayor Michael Walker, who only intended to grow the smaller vegetable but returned from holiday to find his prize produce had grown into a monster.

Now he is raffling it off with money raised earmarked to go towards a project of improvements at Church Stretton's Sandford Avenue Park.

Normally courgettes, also known as zucchinis across the pond in the US, are harvested and sold at around eight inches (20cms), and that is what Councillor Walker was aiming for.

But just one of his crop for some reason had un unexplained growing burst, leaving the rest of the veg in the dirt.

Councillor Walker, who lives in Little Stretton, said: "Imagine my surprise when returning after a weeks’ holiday to find that the plant had produced several normal courgettes but bang in the middle was this whopper at 21 inches (54cm) long. Talk about global warming!"

The colossal cultivar is now being raffled at Michael Bugiel’s Ashlet Stores in Church Stretton with proceeds going to the Sandford Avenue Park Charity.

"To enter the draw guess the weight and buy a ticket," said Councillor Walker.

"But you need to be quick as the closing date is Tuesday, August 22 at 5pm.

"You could be the lucky winner of the courgette – or is it a zucchini?"

Courgettes are a type of marrow that are harvested while immature, but can grow to nearly a meter in length if left.