Wednesday, July 29, 2009


There are few comfort foods on this planet I love more than potatoes... I love all kinds - red, yellow, blue, Yukon gold, itty-bitty fingerlings, huge honkin' russets... any kind you can think of. I like 'em mashed, broiled, skillet fried, latke-ed, french fried, scalloped, hash browned, chipped, baked, twice-baked, roasted, steamed, as a crust for a savory tart, O'Brien-ed, sliced thin and fried on my sandwich grill, and, Goddess help me, even boiled. Out of curiosity, one day I Googled "varieties of potatoes" and found the Washington State University Research & Extension site has a list of 575 varieties! My idea of heaven would be to eat my way through the entire list - one variety a day - until I either croaked or decided I hate potatoes.

This year's potato crop was a pure accident. In early February, I started receiving potatoes in my weekly veggie box from Riverdog Farm. After several weeks, I had tons of potatoes on hand, and one sack of them got forgotten in the back of my veggie bin. In early April, I noticed some strange tendrils growing out of the veggie bin, and found, to my dismay, the forgotten spuds. By that time they looked terrible - wrinkled, shriveled, soft and sprouting ten-inch tendrils, that were threatening to take over the pantry closet as well as the veggie bin. I was about to relegate them to the yard waste container, when my husband suggested I plant them in a spare planter and "see what happens". Long story short... they sprouted, then grew into a gorgeous array of bright green plants, then, after 6-7 weeks, faded and dried up and started looking terrible. I'd read on the internet that potatoes are ready to harvest when the bushes start producing blossoms. I waited and waited, and... no blossoms. About a week ago I noticed some lumps poking out of the soil, and realized they were potatoes! I decided to wait a while longer, but when no blossoms appeared by this morning, I decided to go for it, and started rutting around in the dirt under two of the plants. Wow...!!! Bunches of potatoes appeared - some the size of tiny cherry tomatoes, and others the size of a small fist. So, here they are - fresh from the dirt and ready for breakfast! They were the best home fries I've ever had - tender and fluffy, and fantastic tasting. The best part is, there are still another eight plants I haven't dug up yet!

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