Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Spuds We Liked


Malmesbury had its first ever potato day on Saturday, so of course I couldn't resist going to have a look and renewing my acquaintance with 'Taffy Tatty', one of the great characters of the potato world who grows around 400 varieties to gold medal winning standard. Here he is, telling us a joke about what it's like in heaven for allotmenteers who go there. In front of him is an impressive display of potato varieties, some of them extremely rare. Sadly there was no sign of the Lumper potato variety this time (he does usually have a plate of them on show) - this was the variety which succumbed to potato blight in the 1840s, thus sparking off the potato famine so devastating to Ireland.

Potato Days are an initiative started by Garden Organic in the 1990s. They were concerned at the lack of varieties available in the shops and set out to change this. Now potato days are held all over the country at this time of the year, but this is the first time one's been held so close to home. The great thing about them is not only the wide variety of different potatoes on offer (46 in this instance, including some organic), but they also can be bought singly instead of the usual bulky nets of at least 20. I decided on just two this time as Threadspider and I had already placed our order before I knew about this day. I've gone for Yukon Gold and Edzell Blue, two varieties which have always intrigued me, but not sufficiently to merit buying a whole net full. I also stocked up on my onion sets (Red Baron and Centurion) and then NAH and I settled down for a well earned cuppa (Fairtrade) and a very gooey piece of chocolate cake - yum.

David at Greenseeds organised the day - a local business he started just a couple of years ago to supply organic vegetable and herb seeds at reasonable prices. I'm hoping I can persuade our allotment society to register with him - we'll get a 10% discount if they do, without anyone having to co-ordinate a giant seed order on behalf of everyone. It would be great to support a local business and have the flexibility to order from someone as and when seeds are needed in addition to the D.T. Brown scheme we currently enjoy. NB he also sells paper potato sacks - one of the most frequently asked questions up at the allotment at potato harvest time is where these can be got hold of instead of the usual hessian ones on sale. Well, now we know - and I bought 4 of them on Saturday :)

Congratulations David and I hope it went well enough at the weekend so you'll organise another Potato Day for next year - I'd like to be back for lots more spuds next time.

14 comments:

  1. I'm really sorry I couldn't get to the Potato Day this year, but it looks like it was a good one!
    I can't get hold of paper sacks, so have to use hessian sacks from the local coffee shop - makes the spuds smell interesting though!

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  2. What a great idea! We've heard of tomato tastings and apple tastings... but a potato-rama would be great!! hhhmmmm... ideas are brewing for our local community gardening group... hhhmmm...

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  3. I would be in heaven there. Potatoes are my favorite food.

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  4. We went to the stalls in Malmesbury and got around 30 seed potatoes for our garden. What a great idea!

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  5. Love potatoes...the famine brought a few of my relatives to the States! Yukon Gold is a delicious potato. Lately I have been enjoying the little tiny fingerling potatoes. Roasted with a little sea salt...perfect. VP, your community sounds like a delightful place to live. gail

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  6. 400 varieties! i'm speechless, but my fingers do ache at the thought. & i'm hungry :)

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  7. Wow, so many varieties. Thanks for sharing some of the history, too.

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  8. I am planting the rest of my Yukon Gold seed potatoes this afternoon. If they do well, I may try another variety to go with them next year. In years past potatoes did not do very well for me. Akaline soil seems to be the culprit.

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  9. Sorry I missed it-but Cambridge was fun too.Catch up soon, snow permitting?.

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  10. Sounds a grand day out VP especially with choccie cake to round proceedings off. The two varieties you have chosen sound like cheeses. Look forward to seeing a photo of your harvest and a taste verdict :)

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  11. That sounds like a nice time. I'd love a nice variety of potatoes to grow in my garden, but I don't know what I'd do with all of the extras. There's no way I'd need so many having to buy 20 at a time. I wonder if the neighbors would be interested in going in with me on that.

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  12. Nutty gnome - that's a good idea, they'll keep the slugs away too!

    Guyz! That would be fantastic - I'll keep an eye out for what you get up to!

    MNG - they're so comforting aren't they. I have a potato recipe book, one of my favourites :)

    Malmesbury Photography - welcome! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Here's to the next one!

    Gail - I grow those fingerling spuds too, they're delicious. Perhaps we can compare Yukon Gold potatoes later on in the year?

    Petoskystone - it's pretty impressive, that guy's a walking potato heritage library!

    Jan - glad you liked it. I've just joined your pay it forward meme via Anna (FGG)

    Deb - I've got alkaline soil too and the spuds do fine, so I'm a little puzzled. Also mine won't be going in until March/April time!

    TS - hope so, have emailed you

    Anna - you can bet they'll be something later on in the year. I like your cheese thoughts ;)

    Cinj - hello! That sounds a great idea. Threadspider and I have done that with ours, so we can grow more varieties this year.

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  13. Ah, the Edzell Blue. grew it once. Beautiful colour, but cannot for the life of me remember what it tasted like or yield.

    We have a swapping day at Mudchute this weekend. Trouble is I have not bought a single seed or onion set or potato so have nothing to swap. Oooh, er. Any suggestions?

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  14. Colleen - I had a similar experience at the FoodGroMe get together in Oxford last September. I didn't have anything. People with stuff to swap went first and luckily for me everyone was most generous and let me have something.

    How about plants instead - do you have any raspberry canes that need a bit of thinning out or strawberry runners for instance?

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