The Internet Is Obsessed With This Retiree's Giant Vegetables

When 72-year-old Gerald Stratford hit 250,000 followers on Twitter, he tweeted his fans a virtual bouquet of daffodils. The platform has been infatuated — nay, bonkers for — the gardener of larger-than-life vegetable for some time now. It's a love affair that shows no sign of stopping. These days, the retiree spends upwards of five hours a day, tweeting out enthusiastic gardening advice (via Eater). In early April, Stratford woke up to a blanket of snow covering his garden. "This time last year, I was planting my big onions," he rued in a video. Armed with curry and "a nice cup of Yorkshire tea," Stratford was nevertheless unfazed. "Never mind," he predicted. "It will all come good in the end." That's why The Cut dubbed him "the happiest man on Twitter."

Back to his onions. Stratford, who has grown a five-pound onion in the past, wants to grow a 10-pound one, soon (via The Cut). He's also grown a 150-pound pumpkin and an 80-pound zucchini. "I've had tromboncinos over 40 feet long. Three-pound tomatoes, nine-pound cucumbers ... parsnips over four feet long" he told Eater. Obviously, he regularly wins local gardening shows, collecting titles for "straightest carrot," and the like. "Electric" is how he described the competitions to The Takeout. Meanwhile, Stratford told The Village Grapevine that "stump rooted carrots" were his "greatest success" this year. "Virtually every one was perfect, even the one that grew five fingers became famous."

 It's just hard not to get worked up about vegetable gardening when Stratford posts about it.

Gerald Stratford's favorite vegetable isn't what you think

Upon being photographed with Gucci's "Off the Grid" collection, Gerald Stratford explained to High Snobiety that he picked up gardening from his father, who used to grow veggies after World War II, when it made sense, economically, to do that. "I like to think he was the greatest gardener in the world," Stratford told the magazine. You read that correctly. Even Gucci is in love with Stratford.

It would be a challenge of monumental proportions to find a vegetable that Gerald Stratford hasn't planted. He and his partner, Elizabeth, never have to buy veggies from a shop. Nor do they, likely, buy chutneys, jams, or pickled vegetables, all of which they make at home (via The Village Grapevine). In 2021, he has planted (or is planning on planting) onions, leeks, cauliflowers, cabbage, peppers, chilies, tomatoes, zucchinis, parsnips, carrots, kohlrabi, and snake gourds (via Eater). He's also got 15 varieties of potatoes, which is one of his favorite vegetables to grow. If, however, he were to transform into a vegetable, Stratford told The Village Grapevine that it would be an "onion" because he's a "big man, lots of layers to me."

As for his favorite vegetable to eat? It might or might not be a vegetable at all. "I think the finest vegetable in the world — it's a fruit, really — is a tomato," Stratford told Eater. He likes them fresh, with Himilayan salt.