State fairs in America are always a fascinating glimpse into a rural part of life that so few of us ever actually see anymore.Each state fair is unique in its own special way but one that stands out from all the others is the Alaska State Fair and its fantastic giant vegetable contest.
The Alaska State Fair held annually in Palmer, 42 miles northeast of Anchorage, is not your regular agricultural show. Here farmers from the Matanuska-Susitna Valley routinely display vegetables and produces of gargantuan sizes — a 138-pound cabbage, 65-pound cantaloupe and 35-pound broccoli are just a few of the monsters that have sprung forth from Alaska’s soil in recent years.”Some things are so big, you can’t even recognize what they are,” said the fair’s crop superintendent Kathy Liska.
Why do vegetables grow so big in Alaska?This is all because of the sun.
Alaska typically has a very short growing season, only 105 days, on average.The state is located close to the north pole where it enjoys up to 19 hours of sunshine each day, during summer and at the peak of the growing season. The extra hours of sunlight allows Alaskan crops to just keep growing and growing. Even through the growing season is months shorter than the rest of the country, Alaska’s gardeners grow some of the largest vegetables in the world.