Meet ‘Doug’, potentially the world’s largest potato

New Zealand couple has unearthed a potato the size of a small dog. Spud-tacualar!
Doug the spud, going for a ride! (Colin Craig-Brown)

It was a regular afternoon in Hamilton, New Zealand for Colin and Donna Craig-Brown when they made a fascinating discovery. While weeding their garden, they felt something large and mysterious laying beneath the soil’s surface. Was it an obscure archeological discovery? Perhaps a fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur?

More curiously, it turned out to be some kind of giant, lumpy root vegetable. When Colin tasted a bite of it, they realized it was an enormous potato!

Sweet spud

Potatoes sold at grocery stores are typically between 6–10 cm (2.5–4 inches) in diameter, averaging about 0.2 to 0.4 kilograms (0.5 to 1 lbs) each. This New Zealand spud weighed in at a whopping 7.89 kg (17.4 lbs) and is about the size of a pug. That’s more than 17x larger than a regular potato—that’s huge! The couple named the potato 'Doug,' after the way it was unearthed from the ground (it was “dug” up, get it?).

Doug may just be the largest potato on record. Currently, the Guinness World Records entry for the heaviest potato is a UK tater that clocked in at just under 11 pounds back in 2011. While it sounds like Doug has beaten the record for now, Donna and Colin are waiting to hear back from the Guinness team to make it official. This process can take a couple of months.

Peculiar potato

Donna Craig-Brown holding Doug, looking great in his baseball hat. (Colin Craig-Brown)

The most mysterious part of Doug’s origin is that the couple isn’t quite sure how he wound up in their garden in the first place. Colin states that they’ve planted potatoes before, but they haven’t had them for several years. It’s likely the potato was left in the ground over the years and continued to grow to its unusual size.

Since he was pulled from the ground, Doug has gained a lot of attention both locally and internationally. The couple has had a fun time showing him off on social media, even dressing him up in various hats.

After parading him around to the amazement of neighbours and news outlets, Doug now lives preserved in a freezer after he started to grow mould. If he turns into a zombie potato, will it be a monster mash?

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