Bearing fruit, literally: Giant tomato wins farmer a car

An annual tomato-growing contest in Siberia has yielded a dream prize for a local farmer who won a car for his champion-sized fruit.

Yury Babayev became the triumphant winner of this year’s contest in Krasnoyarsk Region’s town of Minusinsk. The tomato, weighing in at a robust 2.146 kilos, broke a new record for Siberia.

The giant tomato beat the 2010 record of “only” 1.7 kilos for a single farmed vegetable.

The two-kilo-breaching salad item brought the tenacious farmer a Russian-made Lada 2107 car.

The contest is the key event of the town’s annual Tomato Day festival, held every August since 2004.

It is a highly-anticipated event amongst the local farming community who relish the chance to show off not only tomatoes, but all kinds of other vegetables. This year, the festival attracted more than 10,000 visitors.

“The jury treats participants rigorously – they watch the conditions tomatoes grow, cut off fruit themselves in the presence of an owner and carry out chemical tests if needed,” a local official told Itar-Tass news agency.

The contest’s terms are strict and the main criterion is that the specimen must be a single item and not be composed of multiple smaller fruit.

Two contenders whose tomatoes rivalled that of the champion were disqualified for not meeting the requirement.

The heaviest tomato ever, weighing 3.51 kg, was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma state in 1986 – the same year the Chernobyl disaster changed the world.

Siberian farmers are certainly doing everything in their power to beat the record before the decade is out.

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