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Fruit grown on Garden Island may be biggest soursop ever


    Minerva Gonzalez holds a 15-pound soursop found by her boyfriend, Darrin Auger.

It’s hard to imagine something growing on a tree that weighs as much as a 3-month-old baby, but a soursop fruit weighing 15.39 pounds was harvested on Kauai this month by Darrin Auger.

It appears to be on its way to smashing the current soursop Guinness World Record set by an 8.14-pound fruit grown on Hawaii island by Ken Verosko in Captain Cook, Kona, in 2010. That fruit was 11-1/2 inches long and 24 inches around.

“The measurements for our soursop were 13-7/8 inches in length, 27 inches around,” Auger said.

Plus, you know, the whole 15.39-pounds thing.

Auger, captain of Nemesis Sportfishing in Port Allen, researched the old record, the existence of which surprised him. Then he sent an inquiry to Guinness World Records asking how to go about establishing a new record with his find.

“We require a number of pieces of evidence, which will vary depending on the record category the individual or organization is applying for, to verify the achievement,” Elizabeth Montoya, Guinness assistant public relations manager, told TheBuzz.

She didn’t have information specifically about the Kauai soursop, but said the application process typically takes up to three months. “After the 12-week period, our Records Management Team is in touch with the applicant to discuss next steps.”

Auger’s Guinness contact said they’re not going to send anyone to verify the information, so “we did everything that was required, got measurements of the length, and girth, and we had it weighed on a certified scale, and took photos and video.” Independent witnesses watched the weigh-in on a new digital scale at the Lihue Safeway.

Guinness officials have told him the record is “pending.”

Soursop fruit is popular in many countries. It can be eaten as is, or added to fruit cups and salads. With seeds removed, it is processed into juice. The seeds are somewhat toxic, according to a research paper by Julia F. Morton of Miami. Its fruit also is used as fish bait, while its leaves are believed to have medicinal properties.

The University of Hawaii- Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources also prepared a 2011 study on the trees and fruit, and reported that chefs and shoppers needed to be educated in order to increase sales.

Both scientific papers said the fruit can grow to 10 to 15 pounds.

Auger’s ginormous soursop was found during a walk around the property surrounding his Lawai home.

“It’s a really cool property. It seems to me that there’s a lot of old trees that were planted here very long ago,” he said. The land is rich with red ginger, and all kinds of beautiful plants and fruit trees, and Auger said he has seen pigs all over the property.

“When I found the tree, I ran back to get my girlfriend, Minerva Gonzalez, who grew up in Costa Rica drinking the juice of the guanabana (the Spanish name for soursop).”

Gonzalez, who fishes professionally in marlin tournaments around the world, was taken aback by the size of the fruit, Auger said.

He set up an extension ladder to pick the fruit. “It was shaky, teetering. When I got my ladder up there close to it, I vibrated the branch somewhat and it started shaking. It looked close to dropping, and if it had fallen from 12 to 15 feet high, it would have exploded.”

He gave the fruit four to five twists “and it came off the branch and it almost pulled me out of the tree.”

But he lived to tell the story, and possibly to secure his, and the fruit’s, place in history.

Send restaurant news and notes to or call 529-4303. Follow her on Twitter @eriKaengle

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