This past week was all about potatoes. All in all, we planted 600 lbs of seed pieces. We started this process back in December when we placed our order for seed potatoes. Believe it or not, seed potatoes sell out fast!
We began by figuring out which varieties from previous seasons were the most popular. Then we research any new varieties that have come out, and decide if we want to give any of them a try. Once we have decided on what we want, we purchase certified disease free stock from Maine farmers.
You may remember me talking about potatoes a few weeks ago, when we cut them into seed pieces and started to chit them. They started out looking like this:
After a few weeks they started drying out, and the eyes began to sprout:
This process also allows us to remove any bad potatoes that would have otherwise rotted in the ground and could have potentially introduced disease into our fields. When you farm like we do, you don't have an arsenal of fungicides at your disposal, so prevention of disease becomes paramount. As we crate the potatoes up, we remove any gnarly looking spuds:
Then they are out to the field! We plant our potatoes in raised beds, and use a waterwheel to mark the spacing. Our goal is to get the cut side down, and the sprout side up. It doesn't always happen that way, but we give it the ol' college try:
You can see that me and the mother in law have to work in perfect sync to keep from making a mess of things. When she misses, I have to speed up and catch her skip by doing her planting and mine...and she has to do the same for me. We've had several years of planting with each other to practice, so we're pretty much robots at this point:
This year we will have our red, white, and blue new potatoes. All of the potatoes are gold fleshed, only the skins have color. For our main season potato we will have a German variety that is a gourmet delight. We will also have two varieties of fingerlings, for those that like to get fancy with their cooking. One is a Russian variety that tastes like it is already buttered, and the other a brand new development, called Pinto Gold. It produces a marbled, bi-color potato:
Photo from Johnny's Selected Seeds website.
I hope you all enjoyed learning a bit about what goes into getting local potatoes on your plate! CSA members should see them in about 5 to 6 weeks.
Until next week,