Most Viewed Stories
Yuma intern helps break Disney lemon record
A Yuma native and some large lemons recently broke a world record.
Up until recently, the world's heaviest lemon was grown in 2003 in Israel, weighing in at 11 pounds 9.7 ounces, according to the Guinness World Records website.
Dani Duran, 24, a Yuma native, and a team of Plant Science interns recently broke that record with two lemons weighing in at 12 pounds and another at over 15 pounds.
“They can make up to a gallon or a gallon and a half of lemonade, which is pretty neat,” said Duran, who has been interning at the Walt Disney World Resort for the past six months as part of the Plant Science Disney Professional Internship.
Duran shared that the fruit still tastes like a regular-sized lemon, just with more rind and seeds.
“The cool thing is knowing that with my care of the lemon tree, I was a part of growing the largest lemon here at Disney. While working at the tour desk for the ‘Behind the Seeds Tour,' I have been recognized by guests as ‘Hey, you're the 15-pound lemon girl,' which has been fun as well.”
The lemons grew on the Nine Pound Lemon trees at the Epcot greenhouses located at The Land Pavilion, Duran explained, so they are already big to begin with.
“After arriving at the Land Greenhouse, myself and a few others pruned back the branches to allow new growth, and thinned the fruit clusters. After awhile we noticed two lemons in the back were growing larger than the rest and just kept an eye on them.”
After the discovery, Duran was also published on the Disney Blog that can be found at www.tinyurl.com/chllq7o.
During her internship, she said, she has taken on a lot of other responsibilities that will be beneficial to a possible future career in agriculture.Duran is an agricultural student at Arizona Western College.
“I am responsible for the daily care and propagation of over 150 different agronomic crops. My daily duties include pruning, pollinating and general greenhouse upkeep. Typical greenhouse projects include harvesting, transplanting, replacement of irrigation, troubleshooting irrigation issues, crop rotations and cleaning materials used in the greenhouse.
“I give five one-hour ‘Behind the Seeds' greenhouse tours per week to guests of all ages discussing topics such as IPM (integrated pest management), biotechnology, aquaculture and hydroponics. Also, I work up front at our tour desk promoting our tours, enhancing my communication skills.”
With two months left in her internship, she said she has gained numerous valuable skills from her time with Disney.
“What I've learned personally that I will bring back is communication skills, team work and plant care skills. Two of the main things I've learned in the greenhouse setting: hydroponic systems and plant support techniques. The ideas that are done here are so neat and inventive.”
A few of her favorite experiences thus far, she added, have been visiting the Disney World Resort parks with her parents and forming new friendships with other interns.
“When I come back to Yuma, I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends. I also want to finish school and see what doors may open up next in my life.”