Douglas Smith, from Hertfordshire, UK, has broken the world record for the most tomatoes from a single stem/truss.
In September 2021, whilst harvesting his tomato plants, Douglas discovered a single stem with 1,269 cherry tomatoes on it!
He broke his own record of 839, which he had achieved only a few weeks prior. The record before that was just 488 and had not been broken in over 10 years.
“After breaking the UK record for the largest tomato in the UK in 2020, with a 3.106kg (6.85lb) tomato, I sought a new challenge for 2021,” Douglas said when applying for this record.
By comparison, the world’s heaviest tomato weighed 10 lb 12.7 oz (4.896 kg), grown by Dan Sutherland (USA) in 2020.
Not content with just setting UK-specific records, IT manager Douglas took an analytical approach to his tomato farming methods in order to become the best in the world.
He studied various scientific papers and even took soil samples to be tested in a laboratory, which allowed him to tweak the formula until it was just right.
The record-breaking tomatoes were grown in a greenhouse in Douglas’ back garden, where he spends up to four hours a week tending to the trusses.
The official count was conducted by an independent horticulturalist.
“The tomatoes were counted into boxes of 10, and 10 boxes were placed in a tray. Each tray held 100 tomatoes,” Douglas explained.
An unprecedented number of 1,269 tomatoes were counted in total.
That’s 430 more than Douglas’ previous record and over 10 times more than the original record of 121, set by Mr B Rooms in 1997.
A new Guinness world record! Delighted to announce that my record 1,269 tomatoes on a single truss has just been approved. It breaks my own record of 839 from last year #nodig - https://t.co/IF0LH73iOa@GWR@craigglenday@MattOliver87pic.twitter.com/QgPJP3NsFk— Douglas Smith (@sweetpeasalads) March 9, 2022
Douglas doesn’t just grow tomatoes though.
He recently grew a supersize sunflower measuring 6 m (20 ft), although it didn't reach the heights of the tallest sunflower ever, which stood 9.17 m (30 ft 1 in) tall, grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer (Germany) in 2014.
Douglas told the BBC that he “likes to run little experiments with other giant veg and giant crops.”
These experimental crops are trial runs for when Douglas decides to fully commit to each particular record attempt.
This year he’s growing peas, aubergines and potatoes.
Whilst we don’t have a record for the most peas in a pod, Douglas will have his work cut out for him when trying to grow the world’s heaviest potato and heaviest eggplant/aubergine.
Both titles are held by veteran vegetable farmer Peter Glazebrook (UK). Peter grew the heaviest potato in 2011 (4.98 kg; 10 lb 15 oz) and 10 years later grew the heaviest eggplant/aubergine (3.12 kg; 6 lb 14 oz).
It’s looking likely that the summer of 2022 will see many vegetable world records trade hands. We look forward to seeing the fruits (and veg) of everyone’s labour!