Saturday 12 December 2009


In September 1798, the newspapers reported that
A few days since a potatoe was dug up in the garden of Mr. Stratton, at Deptford, weighing upwards of eight pounds. In the middle was a cavity, containing about a pint and a half of a clear and almost tasteless liquid.
Perhaps it's because I'm no gardener that I was less amazed by the size of the potato than by the bravery (or stupidity) of the person who tasted the liquid!

If the weighing was accurate, then this eighteenth-century spud outweighed what was until recently the official world's largest: a 7lb 13oz monster grown by K Sloan of the Isle of Man. However, there were reports last year of an incredible 24.9lb potato in Tyre, Lebanon. Farmer Khalil Semhat claimed that he had grown it without fertiliser, and needed help to lift it out of the ground.

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