June 25th, 2011

We love homegrown potatoes. I just don’t understand when I hear people say that growing potatoes isn’t worth it. The flavor and texture of a just-dug potato is so much better than what you can buy in a grocery store (but maybe not better than what you can find at farmers’ markets).

First Potato Harvest

Rose Finn Apple (left) and Maris Piper (right)

So what did I grow this year? The most common grocery store potato in England. But I don’t live in England, and when I ordered seed potatoes this year I had no idea that ‘Maris Piper’ is ubiquitous there. I don’t think it is here, unless we grow and sell them under another name. I’m also growing ‘Rose Finn Apple’, also known as ‘Pink Fir Apple’, and ‘German Butterball’.

I noticed flowers on ‘Maris Piper’ a few weeks ago, and flowering is a pretty good indication that tubers are beginning to form. So this week I cautiously dug around the base of the plants and was surprised at the size of some of the potatoes I found. It appears that ‘Maris Piper’ is a good yielder. I’ll continue to remove a few potatoes at a time while the plants are still growing and then when the plants die down, I’ll dig the area thoroughly to harvest any remaining tubers.

The first potatoes of the year demand very simple cooking, so the flavor and texture shine through. I sliced them thickly and pan-fried in a mixture of butter and olive oil with a few whole cloves of fresh ‘Ajo Rojo’ garlic. Added salt and pepper to taste and that’s all.

This is my contribution to the Garden-to-Table Challenge at Greenish Thumb – a worldwide weekly blog roundup of great food from kitchen gardeners.

3 Responses to “Potatoes!”

  1. Wendy says:

    These are gorgeous. I’m trying potatoes (blue!) for the first time this year and am pretty excited about it. I’ve grown sweet potatoes – there’s just something inherently fun about digging and searching for little surprises.

  2. SwimRay says:

    I grew potatoes a few times and they were great. I think I forget to plant them because in the spring, they are not set out like onions, or have seeds displayed like other veggies at the local stores, so they slip my mind.

    • entangled says:

      That’s true. I don’t remember ever seeing seed potatoes in the garden center, until this spring when I was really surprised to find seed potatoes and shallots and garlic next to the onion sets at Strange’s Garden Center in Richmond. They were some of the same varieties I’m growing and available in much smaller quantities better suited to my needs than what the mail order places offer. I’m just afraid that if I wait next year to see if they have them again, and then they don’t, that it might be too late to order from anywhere online. But you can plant them for a fall crop too. I keep the extras in the fridge and plant them out sometime in August to be harvested just around the time of frost. I think they actually produce a better crop then than spring plantings.

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