SLIDELL, La. - Many people dream of breaking a Guinness World Record, but Doug and Mary Beth Meyer actually did it. In fact, they broke two world records with the world's largest grapefruit: one for weight and one for circumference.
They had the help of their six grandchildren, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture - and some fairies. That's right, the amazing fruit was grown just a few feet above a colorful Fairy Garden created by the couple's grandchildren.
Many years ago the Meyers had purchased a grapefruit tree growing in a pot. They re-planted it in their backyard in Slidell and, lo and behold, it yielded an incredible citrus!
The record-breaking fruit was first spotted by their grandson.
"He looked up in the tree and he says 'grandpa, that's a big grapefruit!' and I looked up in the tree and I said, 'Daryl, I think that might be the world's biggest grapefruit, and that's kinda how it all started,'" Doug Meyer told WGNO.
Doug was kidding at the time, but the fruit continued to grow, and so did his curiosity.
They soon looked up the record, which has been set by a Brazilian farmer in 2006. Next, they contacted Guinness and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture.
"There's a process that Guinness has, you have to file an application with them and they have to approve your application before you can even make the attempt," explains Doug, who did the work to get an application approved for two records: weight and circumference.
After months of tending to the tree and taking care of piles of paperwork, January 19th was the day of reckoning. The Meyers welcomed family, friends, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, and authorities from Guinness to their home for measuring, weighing and determining the truth about their big fruit.
The verdict was declared: the Louisiana fruit was indeed a winner: At seven pounds, 14.6 ounces, and almost 29 inches around, it's a double record holder!
But the greatest crop these two are cultivating is one you can't taste or hold in your hands: it's the memories built with their grandchildren, and the lessons being passed down.
"Just believe in magic," says Mary Beth, who is a retired school teacher.
The Meyers plan to put together a book for their grandchildren about this scenario. It will be titled, "The Fairy Garden and the Grapefruit."