Wellington, New Zealand (AP) — Colin and Donna Craig Brown were weeding a New Zealand garden when Colin’s hoe hit a giant just below the surface of the soil.
When the couple knelt down and began digging around the object, Colin wondered if it was some strange fungal growth, a giant puff ball. Colin pryed it open with a garden fork and then scraped the skin a little to taste.
“We couldn’t believe it. It was just huge,” Donna said.
And it’s not exactly clean. Donna describes its appearance as a more ugly, mutated appearance.
But it’s probably the biggest potato on record. When the couple brought it into the garage and put it on an old scale, it weighed an amazing 7.9 kilograms (17.4 pounds). This is equivalent to two bags of regular potatoes, or one small dog.
Within weeks of the unusual discovery on August 30, the couple’s potatoes became like celebrities around a small farm near Hamilton. They named the potato Doug after the way it was excavated, and Colin even made a small cart to tow Doug.
“We put on him a hat. We posted him on Facebook, took him for a walk and gave him sunlight,” Doug said. “It’s all a little fun. It’s amazing to entertain people.”
Due to more formal weighing by local farmers, Doug weighs 7.8 kg. The current Guinness World Records entry for the heaviest potatoes is the 2011 monster from the UK, which weighs just under 5 kg. The couple says they have applied to Guinness for recognition by Doug and are waiting for a reply.
Guinness did not immediately respond to application update requests.
Colin said there was no gardening secret. Usually they throw a lot of cow dung and straw into the yard to see what happens. He said they were growing cucumbers in that area of their garden before the weeds took over and planted potatoes. Doug was self-sown and probably had grown for more than a few years.
“It’s a mystery to me,” Colin said. “It’s one of the little happy surprises of nature.”
But Doug hasn’t proved easy to take care of. As the couple showed off the potatoes, it began to dry and lose weight. The mold began to grow from the wound.
“He was a little pongee,” Colin said, referring to the smell of potatoes.
So Colin cleaned up Doug as much as possible and put the potatoes in the freezer.
But Colin may not have finished with Doug yet. Colin, an amateur brewer, said he wanted to turn Doug into a nice drop of potato vodka.