Colin and Donna Craig-Brown were weeding their garden near Hamilton, New Zealand, when they found something unusual beneath the soil’s surface. As the couple began excavating the object, they were surprised by its size. When Colin tasted a piece, he realized it was a giant potato.
“We couldn’t believe it,” Donna said to Nick Perry of the Associated Press. “It was just huge.”
Their unusual discovery may be the largest potato on record. When weighed at the local farming store, the spud was whopping 7.8 kilograms (17.4 pounds)—the size of a large Thanksgiving turkey. The couple dubbed potato “Doug,” after the way it was unearthed. The Guinness World Records entry for the heaviest potato is a 2011 ‘tater from Britain that clocked in at just under 5 kg (11 pounds). Donna and Colin say they’ve applied to Guinness to have Doug officially recognized, and are currently waiting to hear back, which can take a few months.
The couple doesn’t know how the giant tuber got there. Colin says they planted potatoes in that area two or three years ago, but in recent years they’ve grown cucumbers in that section of the garden. They fertilize their garden regularly with manure and straw but don’t take any extreme measures, so Doug’s size is another mystery. It’s likely the potato was simply lost over the years and, left in the ground, continued to grow to its unprecedented girth.
“It’s fair to say our veggie garden can sometimes get a bit feral. There are some parts of the garden you need to pack a lunch and advise your next of kin before heading in to,” Colin told Eva Corlett for the Guardian. “It’s a mystery to me,” he said. “It’s one of nature’s little pleasant surprises.”
The large tuber would more likely win a size competition than a beauty competition. Donna describes its appearance as more of an ugly, mutant look. Still, the Craig-Brown family is proud of their spud. Since they discovered the spud on August 30, Doug has reached celebrity status among locals.
“We put a hat on him. We put him on Facebook, taking him for a walk, giving him some sunshine,” Colin told the NZ Herald. He built a small cart to tow Doug around. “It’s all a bit of fun. It’s amazing what entertains people.”
But all that fresh air and adventure proved taxing for Doug. Over time, he began shriveling and growing mold. Soon, Doug had an odor. So the couple made the difficult choice of wrapping Dough in plastic resigning the spud to their freezer. Next, Colin, who is an amateur brewer, hopes to give Doug a second life as a delicious potato vodka.