Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You say potato, I say tater

Yesterday I had to go buy potatoes at the grocery store.  The last time we were at the farm we didn't have room in the car to bring a sack of potatoes back to Roosevelt with us.  As I emptied the brown plastic sack of small, under-nurished, over  processed, chemical ridden, etc,etc,  potatoes into the  "tater cupboard", it set my mind to thinking about potatoes. I am a potato snob.  Only the best for me.

Glen digging potato rows

As a kid my younger  sister and I had the job of watering the potatoes at the farm.  Back in the "olden" days before sprinklers the water was pumped out of the well into a very large ditch.  We then siphioned the water over the ditch bank with a curved  5 foot long, 1 inch around  pipe, directing the water into each individual potato row.  Between 50 to 100 pipes were used to carry the water load.  They had to be changed every couple of hours as the 1/2 mile rows finished watering.  Day after day we lived at the farm changing the potato rows.  At night we would set the wind-up alarm clock, crawl out of our sleeping bags and walk in the dark to where the water was.  We would change the water using exact timing so the water would not flow over the ditch bank and cause a distarous break out of the 5 ft. high bank.  We would stumble around in the dark completing our task , watching and waiting for a half hour to make certain things were done correctly, then  we would head back to the camp trailer.  We would get about an hours sleep before the alarm rang again and we started the process all over again...all night....all day.....all summer. 
   We drank out of the ditch to cool our thirst.  It was the coldest water,  sometimes we would just jump  in.  We would get ravenous hungry working in the hot sun all day.
Walking down the potato rows we'd dig under the potato plants and find the new potatoes.  Wiping them off on our pants, we'd pull a little salt shaker from our pocket and eat the potatoes to tide us over until mom came with our lunch.  I still enjoy eating raw potatoes!!! We raised Russets then, they are a good baking potato ( I don't bake my potatoes in foil I love the hard, crunchy skins eaten with a hunk of real butter), but I prefer the delicate taste  differences the other varieties provide.
Last year I didn't have as good as a variety of potatoes that I usually have.   I have smart gophers at the farm. They have discovered if  they tunnel in a straight line they can find a stash of potatoes about every 12 inches.  They harvest the potatoes, taking them to their large under-ground cavern and store them for winter eating.  Carver once discovered a burrow containing over 100 potatoes. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

PURPLE VIKING; large,  thin -skinned purple and pink.  I enjoy this potato as hashbrowns  or made into potato chips.  It is also good baked or mashed.

MOUNTAIN ROSE; a medium sized potato.  Dark red on the outside, rose collored inside.  It tastes as good as it's name.  I use it for potato salad or oven fries.  It can also be baked.

BLUE;   blue all the way through.  Use for  oven fries with olive oil and herbed itialian seasoning.  I think blue mashed potatoes are the greatest.
  I had a lady at market (nobody I knew) cuss me  out about the $ 3.00 a pound price on my speciality potatoes.  I thought to myself with a smirk, well you can just go to the big grocery store down the street and pay 5.99 a pound plus tax.
  You don't have to buy my beautiful, yummy blue potatoes. I"ll just take them home and eat them myself!

YUKON GOLD;  another one of my favorites.  Use for creamy mashed potatoes, baby potatoes roasted with olive oil and seasoning.  I also use this potato in bread and spud-nuts.

YELLOW FINN; a potato I use mostly for hashbrowns.

FINGERLINGS;  all color.  Boil  or roasted.


Why do fresh, just dug potatoes taste so good?  The potate has natural sugars in them and when they are eaten just after being harvested those sugars are still intact.  As the potatoes are stored the sugars turn to starch and affects the taste, I also recomend never peeling a potato..

Glen still digging potato rows

 Thanks honey, 1 patch down, now only 6 more to go.

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