Little scarlet strawberry picker Nicolae smashes Tiptree record
- Credit: Doug Blanks
A lightning-fast strawberry picker has set a new world record at an annual Essex event.
Nicolae Petrechivta from Romania raced into the record books after picking an amazing 8.82kg of tiny native strawberries at the Tiptree Little Scarlet Race on July 4 - beating the competition's previous record.
Fellow Romanian Andrei Agreci picked up the runner-up prize with 7.5kg.
MORE - Suffolk and Essex strawberry growers prepare for busy season as fresh berries become shoppers' stapleBecause of the fruit's size, it takes much longer to pick than larger, traditional strawberries.
Farm workers, guest teams and staff teams competed to be fastest picker and the best dressed 1960s style at the event, organised by jam makers Wilkin & Sons.
The competition lasts just one hour. The fruit is then weighed, put into a chill store and then taken to the Tiptree jam factory where it will be made into Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserve before being shipped to shops and hotels in the UK, Paris, New York and Sydney.
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Wilkin & Sons chairman Walter Scott praised competitors' "wonderful attire".
"Last year I remarked that the Tiptree Strawberry Race was a quirky event similar to the Maldon Mud Race, but unlike that muddy event we are dependent on the weather and this year we had to delay the race because of the late harvest," he said.
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Debbie de Boltz of Farleigh Hospice thanked Tiptree for choosing it as its race charity for the year.
Other winners were: Fastest team (guests): The English Distillery Company (12.42kg); Fastest team (in-house): Team TC - Thursday Cottage (17.45kg); Best dressed individual: Coral Salmon of Dummett Copp LLP; Best dressed individual runner-up: Marius and Gabbi; Best dressed guest team: Crest Nicholson Eastern; Best dressed in-house team: Pudding Room Ladies.