By NICK PERRY, Associated Press
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — When isn’t a potato a potato?
When it’s a squash tuber, according to Guinness World Records.
A New Zealand couple who believed they had dug up the world’s largest potato in the garden of their small farm near Hamilton had their dreams turned to mashed potatoes after Guinness wrote to say that scientific tests had revealed that this was not, in fact, a potato after all.
Colin Craig-Brown, who first hit the tuber with a hoe last August while gardening with his wife Donna, said it looked and tasted like a potato. Careful, he added, he’s never tasted a squash tuber.
“What can you say?” said Craig-Brown. “We can’t say we don’t believe you, because we gave them the DNA.”
After months of submitting photos and documents, the couple received the bad news from Guinness in an email last week.
“Dear Colin,” the email begins, saying “unfortunately the specimen is not a potato and is in fact the tuber of a type of squash. For this reason, we unfortunately have to disqualify the entry. .
The couple had named their find Doug, which they took to spell Dug, after how it was unearthed. The tuber has become something of a local celebrity, after the couple started posting pictures of it on Facebook wearing a hat and even built a cart to tow it.
An official weigh-in at a local farm store put Dug at 7.8 kilograms (17 pounds), which is the equivalent of two sacks of regular potatoes or a small dog. The existing Guinness record will remain, a British monster from 2011 that weighed just under 5kg.
Craig-Brown remains a big supporter of Dug, who still sits in his freezer.
“I tell him ‘gidday’ every time I take out sausages. He’s a cool character,” Craig-Brown said. “Every time the grandkids come, they say, ‘Can we see Dug? “”
“Dug is the destroyer of Down Under,” added Craig-Brown. “He’s the biggest pas-a-potato in the world.”
Craig-Brown said he’s not done with chasing the potato record just yet. Dug seeded himself, but Craig-Brown said that with all his subsequent research into giant potatoes, he was ready to try and deliberately grow a record monster next season.
And this time, it will definitely be a potato.
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