Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


OUR FAMILY HAS a heritage of worshipping Solanum tuberosum, the potato. But we’ve never taken to naming individual ones. This is despite potatoes being among our Christmas ornaments and a prized sculpted vase.

Quite apart from objets d’art, we admire the diversity of the potato family, more than 4000 different varieties. Originating in what is now Peru, potatos grew naturally throughout the Americas. Potatoes come in different pigmentations; a parable for us all. .

Image by Avodrocc from Wikipedia.

Celebrating the Craig-Browns. And today, we celebrate Donna and Colin Craig-Brown for their naming Doug, a potato unearthed in their vegetable garden near Hamilton, New Zealand. As reported by NPR, “A Potato the Size of a Small Dog is Found in New Zealand,” November 4, 2021, “Colin and Donna Craig-Brown were weeding their garden in New Zealand when Colin’s hoe struck something huge just beneath the soil’s surface…. After Colin pried it out with his garden fork, he scratched away a bit of skin and tasted it.”

“A potato,” NPR writes. 

“We couldn’t believe it,” Donna said, “It was just huge.”

A potato named Doug riding in a toy truck. Image by Donna Craig-Brown/AP.

A New Record? NPR says it’s quite possibly the largest potato on record: “When the couple lugged it into the garage and put it on their old set of scales, it weighed in at a remarkable 7.9 kilograms (17.4 pounds). That’s equal to a couple sacks of regular potatoes, or one small dog.”

“In the weeks since their unusual find on Aug. 30,” NPR says, “the couple’s potato has become something of a celebrity around their small farm near Hamilton. They’ve named it Doug, after the way it was unearthed, and Colin even built a small cart to tow Doug around.”

NPR continues: “A more official weigh-in at a local farming store put Doug at 7.8 kg. The current Guinness World Records entry for the heaviest potato is a 2011 monster from Britain that weighed in at just under 5 kg. The couple say they’ve applied to Guinness to have Doug recognized and are waiting to hear back.”

Donna and Doug. Image by Colin Craig-Brown/AP.

Gardening Tips? NPR reports, “Colin said he doesn’t have any secret gardening tips. Usually they throw a bunch of cow manure and straw onto their garden and see what happens. He said they’d been growing cucumbers in that area of their garden before the weeds took over and hadn’t planted any potatoes. Doug must have been self-sown, and quite possibly growing for a couple of years or more.”

“It’s a mystery to me,” Colin said. “It’s one of nature’s little pleasant surprises.” 

Doug’s Future. “He’s getting a bit pongy,” said Colin, who’s an amateur brewer “keen to turn Doug into a nice drop of potato vodka.” 

Na Zdrowie! Or whatever the Kiwi equivalent is. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021 

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