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BEHIND THE SCENES: City councillor has longest zucchini in Thorold...and the world

ThoroldToday editor Bernard Lansbergen takes us behind the scenes

In each “Behind the Scenes” segment, Village Media's Scott Sexsmith sits down with one of our local journalists to talk about the story behind the story.

These interviews are designed to help you better understand how our community-based reporters gather the information that lands in your local news feed. You can find more Behind the Scenes from reporter across Ontario here

Today's spotlight is on's Bernard Lansbergen, whose story 'City councillor has longest zucchini in Thorold...and the world' was published on Oct. 18.

Here is the original story if you need to catch up:

There must be something in the Thorold soil, because local resident Henry D’Angela has grown the longest zucchini in the world.

“I didn’t start out to grow the longest,” says D’Angela, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “It just happened to be in a new area I had never grown before. The soil has done really well for it. It’s amazing.”

While D’Angela has sent in proof to the Guinness World Records organization, he's still waiting for them to verify the result.

The current record holder for longest zucchini is John Giovanni Scozzafavain from Niagara Falls, who in 2014 had a zucchini reach 8 ft and 3.3 inches.

Back in 2021, Thorold resident John D’Amico made an attempt at setting a new world record with a zucchini that reached 6 ft and 9 inches.

But now, D’Angela has both of them beat with a zucchini that measures 8 ft and 4.79 inches, or 2.56 metres.

So what’s the secret to growing such a long zucchini?

“I guess plenty of water,” D’Angela says. “And I put manure in the base here.”

D’Angela, who is a member of city council, says that he has been an avid zucchini grower for over a decade. 

“This all started when my daughter was about ten,” he explains. “I grew regular zucchinis in the garden. We went away for a trip, and if you don’t cut it they grow exponentially. We entered it into a competition and she won a prize at the fair for having the biggest zucchini.”

The experience inspired D’Angela to start growing long, green zucchinis, also known as Sicilian cucuzza squash. 

D’Angela tends to grow the vegetables in his backyard but this year he decided to plant some by the side of his house. A spot usually reserved for his tomato plants and sunflowers.

“Everything I grow along here grows really well because it gets sun all day,” he says.

Unfortunately, the introduction of the zucchinis was not good news for the other plants in the plot.

“I think it’s because they’re all competing for the same nutrients,” D’Angela says. “[My tomatoes] seemed to all die off. I don’t know if it was also because they were shaded because the [zucchini] canopy was pretty big at one point in time.”

While the zucchini plant started growing on a trellis fastened to his roof, D’Angela had to built a wooden contraption to give the vegetable more room to grow. 

“The higher it hangs, the more it drops,” he says. “I just had to make sure it was off the ground all the time. It’ll start pulling everything down because it weighs so much.”

Unfortunately, when a zucchini reaches such an extraordinary size, it is no longer edible.

“The shell hardens,” says D’Angela.

Now that he has finally cut the vegetable down, “it just dries up and turns brown with some spots.”

D’Angela is storing the elongated vegetable in his garage while waiting to hear back from the Guinness World Records organization.

“When they open the farmer’s market in Thorold next year I should bring this as a novelty,” he says. “So Thorold can be known as having the biggest zucchini in the world.”