As It Happens

Doug the lumpy New Zealand potato could be the world's biggest

When Colin Craig-Brown and his wife came across a huge lumpy mass the size of a small dog buried in their yard, they weren't sure what it was.

The potato — named Doug because its owners 'dug him up' — clocks in at 7.9 kilograms

A large potato sits on a trolly in a garden at Donna and Colin Craig-Brown's home near Hamilton, New Zealand on Wednesday, Nov. 3. (Submitted by Donna Craig-Brown/The Associated Press)

Story Transcript

When Colin Craig-Brown and his wife came across a huge lumpy mass the size of a small dog buried in their yard, they weren't sure what it was.

The couple was digging up weeds in their Hamilton, New Zealand, garden when they found something so tightly packed in the Earth, they had to use a garden fork to wrench it free.

"[I] gave it a scratch and gave it the taste test — and hey, presto!" Colin Craig-Brown told As It Happens host Carol Off.  "If it tastes like a spud, it must be a spud."

But this spud is unlike any other Craig-Brown has ever seen. 

"It's bigger than a basketball, and oh, I'd say ... three times the size of one of your American-football ... things," he said. 

He has no idea how it got so big. He doesn't have any nifty garden tricks to explain it.

"I sprinkle on a bit of general fertilizer, a bit of super phosphate and a little bit of blood and bone [meal fertilizer] and that sort of thing — but I don't go crazy with it," he said. "It's just nuts. It's just one of nature's little mysteries. That's all I'm saying."

Colin Craig-Brown holds Doug, his potentially record-setting spud. (Submitted by Donna Craig-Brown/The Associated Press)

When Craig-Brown weighed the lumpy beast, it clocked in at 7.9 kilograms. That's bigger than U.K. farmer Peter Glazebrook's 4.9-kilogram spud, which currently holds the Guinness World Record for largest potato

The Craig-Browns are currently in talks with Guinness to have their garden surprise officially considered for the record, a process that could take another six weeks.

In the meantime, they're having fun with Doug. 

"Doug, yeah. Dug him up. That's how we got his name," Craig-Brown said.

After liberating Doug from the soil, Craig-Brown decided to take his prized root veggie out for some sun and fun. He even built a small cart to tow the potato around.

"We had a hat on him because we took him out to give him a bit of sunshine one day — you know, just for the camera," he said.

"Some people reckon he looks like a baby with his hat on. But I just think he looks like a potato with a little hat sitting on top of him."

Donna Craig-Brown holds a behatted Doug the potato. (Submitted by Colin Craig-Brown )

But, alas, Doug's health has gone downhill since those early jaunts. The oversized potato has started to rot. It's lost at least a kilogram of weight due to evaporation. 

Too much sun, says Craig-Brown. Plus it probably didn't help that he accidentally speared Doug's starchy flesh with a garden fork while hauling him out of the ground.

"He kept getting a bit smelly, so I thought in order to save him so that the Guinness people have got something to look at, [we'd] wrap him up in the freezer, right? But I pull him out every now and then when people want to look at him," he said. "My wife says he got gangrene."

Craig-Brown built a little wagon to haul dug around on. (Submitted by Donna Craig-Brown/The Associated Press)

Once the Guinness business is over with, Doug's days are numbered. 

"I'm thinking I might turn him into vodka," Craig-Brown said. "Then we can have a potato-less wake, and toast to Doug."

If Doug doesn't make the history books, that's OK too.

"If we don't qualify for whatever reason, hey, it's been fun. We're world famous in New Zealand, and Doug's had his 15 minutes of fame. So that's all that matters, really."


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Sarah Jackson. 

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