Retired crane driver Ivan Zufic boasts a huge heart – a whopping 1.2kilogram tomato he grew in the garden of his Dapto home.
Mr Zufic may very well be Wollongong’s tomato king – he has grown plenty of large heart tomatoes before, including two above the 900-gram mark, but nothing this big.
He got a shock when he picked the tomato last week.
‘‘I was very surprised. I didn’t expect it [to be so big],’’ he said.
Mr Zufic insists he doesn’t use a special method to grow such large fruit but he has kept growing the seeds from the same plant for about five or six years.
‘‘There’s no secret, I just look after them. I don’t spray them, I just use tomato dust.’’
Mr Zufic’s green-thumb credentials were obvious when the Advertiser showed up. His organised garden had chillies, eggplants, watermelon, cucumbers and strawberries.
The 74-year-old, who arrived in Australia from the beautiful Istria region of Croatia 50 years ago, said he loved gardening.
‘‘I do it every day at least for a couple of hours, me and my missus [Danica]. Now I’m retired, I have plenty of time.’’
Mr Zufic doesn’t know of anyone who grows tomatoes as big as his. But he has a long way to go before he breaks the world record. The heaviest tomato in the world, weighing 3.51kilograms, was grown by Gordon Graham, of Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1986.
And what does Mr Zufic plan for his 1.2-kilogram tomato?
‘‘We’re going to eat it – put it with capsicum and salad.’’