The harvest done and the season coming to a close, Jessica Rooks was out working to clean up her garden when she came across a stray sweet potato. So she started digging to get it out.

And she kept digging.

And digging.

And digging.

“It kept getting bigger and bigger,” Rooks said.

What she unearthed was unexpected, and maybe even unheard of in the state of Missouri. The sweet potato was enormous, weighing in at a stunning 12 pounds and 4 ounces.

The picture she took of the find with her 10-month-old daughter, Libby, smiling next to the super-sized spud helps put it in perspective. The photo actually came about as people were placing bets on which was heavier – Libby or the potato.

For the record, Libby won by five pounds.

The sweet potato came from a community garden Rooks said three families care for, growing tomatoes, okra, watermelon and, obviously, sweet potatoes, along with other unique items like peanuts.

The rest of the potatoes had been harvested Oct. 1 after their planting in May. And while Rooks said those harvested were quite large, they didn’t know what else lurked beneath the soil.

“We did not see it coming before we got it out of the garden,” she said.

They’ve contacted the University of Missouri Extension office in Kirksville to see where it might rank in the state record book. Rooks said a brief search online found several state records across the country between 10 and 12 pounds.

Rooks said they plan to eventually eat the mammoth sweet potato, while acknowledging that could take some time.

“We’ll get many, many sweet potato casseroles out of that one,” she said.