âGerald, you went viral with your potatoes! These are the words of Gerald Stratford’s nephew in May 2020 as his 72-year-old uncle was propelled to social media stardom in the most unlikely way. He replied, “What is a ‘viral? “? “
Stratford grows giant vegetables, such as three-foot-long carrots and squash that weigh 20kg, and posts healthy photos and videos of him showing off his produce on Twitter (still with the signature “cheers”).
Posts from a 72-year-old gardening enthusiast may not seem obvious to social media, but dispatches from Stratford from his vegetable garden in Milton-under-Wychwood, Cotswolds made him an online sensation.
Photos of him holding huge onions, zucchini and carrots are gaining thousands of likes; he has been interviewed for television, newspapers and radio, starred in a campaign for Gucci, and has now published a book titled Large Vegetables. âIt’s been a juggernaut race – from around 96 subscribers to over 300,000,â he says.
Stratford joined Twitter in 2019 to get involved with the giant vegetable growing community, but initially only had a few followers. However, in early 2020, his partner Elizabeth took a photo of him showing a crop of Rocket potatoes. He gained 78,000 likes and his big vegetable took off.