When Colin Craig-Brown was working in his garden in Wellington, New Zealand, last summer, he found what he thought might be a potato that could make history.
Colin and his wife Donna were just doing some maintenance in their plot when his hoe hit something. As he investigated, he uncovered more and more of a giant tuber buried in the ground.
That particular spot had been used to grow cucumbers before it was overtaken by weeds, but Colin was just sure it was a potato.
Why was he so sure? Because he tasted the strange, lumpy thing he wrenched from the ground, and declared it was a potato.
Never mind that the couple had never grown potatoes there, what else could the strange root be?
“We couldn’t believe it,” Donna said, according to an Associated Press report in November. “It was just huge.”
The couple named it “Doug” (sometimes spelled ‘Dug,’ for obvious reasons), and Doug took on a life all his own. Photos of him were shared on social media. Colin built a special wooden cart to tote the tuber around town. Doug became a bit of a local celebrity.
“We put a hat on him,” Colin said, according to the AP. “We put him on Facebook, taking him for a walk, giving him some sunshine. It’s all a bit of fun. It’s amazing what entertains people.”
People have had a variety of reactions to the bizarre tuber, some saying it looked like an animal and others finding it plain distressing.
Naturally, Colin’s thoughts turned to Guinness World Records. When he and Donna first weighed the questionably shaped brown “potato,” it came in at just over 17 pounds.
Researching world-record spuds, Colin found that the current title holder weighed a puny 10 pounds, 14 ounces.
“The heaviest potato weighs 4.98 kg (10 lb 14 oz) and was grown by Peter Glazebrook (UK),” the Guinness World Records’ page on “Heaviest Potato” states. “It was weighed at the National Gardening Show at the Royal Bath & West Showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, UK, on 4 September 2011.”
Seeing the opportunity, the couple applied to have their contender recognized as the new Heaviest Potato.
As they waited for a response, Doug started to lose his shine. He dried out in some areas and grew mold in others. He started to smell.
So Colin popped him in the freezer for safe-keeping. An amateur brewer, according to the AP, Colin even had plans to eventually turn him into vodka.
“I say ‘gidday’ to him every time I pull out some sausages,” Colin said. “He’s a cool character. Whenever the grandchildren come round, they say, ‘Can we see Dug?'”
But after applying, sending in a sample of Doug and waiting, Colin, Donna and Doug received disappointing news.
The sample had been tested, and Doug wasn’t a potato at all. He was a gourd tuber. Similar, but certainly not the same, and not in the running for the title after all.
“What can you say?” Colin said, according to an Associated Press report about the decision. “We can’t say we don’t believe you, because we gave them the DNA stuff.”
Despite the disappointment, Colin hasn’t been defeated. Now that he’s invested so much into learning about giant potatoes, he’s determined to purposely grow the real deal next year. In the meantime, Doug will always have a special place in his heart and will always be a winner in his eyes.
“Dug is the destroyer from Down Under,” he said, according to the AP. “He is the world’s biggest not-a-potato.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.