Antonio Ávila, a 61-year-old resident of Vélez-Málaga, has managed to grow a record-breaking courgette in his greenhouse in Vélez-Málaga. In just twenty days from being planted the Sinatra variety reached 72 centimetres in length, a diameter of 46 centimetres and a weight of 7.5 kilos. Normally the variety weighs between 200 and 300 grams and measures between 14 and 20 centimetres.
"Courgettes have to be harvested every two days in winter and spring and every day in summer, they grow very quickly,” explained the 61-year-old farmer who has been growing them for three years and who previously worked as a transporter for a local ornamental flower company.
"I decided to leave this one to continue growing, to see how much weight it would reach, and in twenty days look how big it has become," explained Ávila proudly as he posed for a photograph with the enormous courgette.
He has given it as a gift to his friend Fali, who runs the restaurant El Yate in Torre del Mar. “It may contain more seeds than usual, but I hope it can be eaten," explained Ávila.
With the transport strike, the war in the Ukraine and the rise in prices, with inflation already close to 10 per cent, courgettes are fetching very good prices for the producers in La Axarquía at the moment. This week they have been paid at two euros per kilo in the auction in El Morche. "It's a very good price," admits Ávila, who added that his family is “delighted” that he has grown such a large courgette.
It is not the first time that a farmer from the Axarquía has managed to grow a large vegetables or fruits without using genetically modified seeds. José Retamero from Nerja made the headlines in April 2011, after harvesting a potato that weighed over a kilo, turnips weighing five kilos, a courgette of seven kilos, leeks of a metre and a half, broad beans of half a metre long, pepper plants with up to four hundred fruits and tomato plants with around twenty plants per branch.