Friday, July 20, 2007

In Praise of the Humble, Homegrown Potato

Here's one of the first pickings of veggies from our garden. It's finally staring to produce enough to make a dent in our food bill, which is nice. It's fun to "go shopping" in the garden. Yes, some of those carrots are purple! They're wonderful and the summer squash is delicious but it's the potatoes that have me exited this year. If you've been around me for any amount of time in the last 6 months you've heard me complain about the amazingly awful potatoes that are available at the stores. Organic, non-organic, yellow, red, whatever-They've been terrible. I've planned the potato patch this year with great anticipation. Finally here are the first of the Red Pontiacs. From one potato planted we harvested 30 in its place. They are lovely, thin skinned, sized from a cherry up to a tangerine. The kids love digging them-it's like a treasure hunt every time. They just needed a quick dip in the sink, a steam bath on top of the stove and a rubdown with a little butter and salt and they were ready for the table. Worth the wait? Oooh yeah....They were creamy and delicious and the thin red skins were almost crisp. The next day we dug more and I tossed them with a little olive oil and coarse salt and roasted them in the oven.
Maybe I'm appreciating my garden more this year because this spring I had the good fortune to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It helped me appreciate once again the wonders of growing my own and, if that's not possible, the benefits of buying locally. I've been taking our large garden for granted the past few years and seeing it as a source of work only. Lately though, I've been appreciating the garden, labor and all, for the beautiful place it is and the many gifts it gives. Could I save time and money and effort by buying potatoes at the store? Maybe. But this year the savings aren't worth the cost.

7 comments:

Mary said...

What a lovely post, Angie! Absolutely gorgeous photos. Our garden's a bit behind yours and nowhere near as big, so we're still waiting on things other than peas. :-)

I'm really looking forward to reading the Kingsolver book. I'm a bit down the line as far as a wait at the library, but I can be patient . . . well, some of the time anyway.

Potatoes have always seemed like a complicated vegetable to grow - all that hilling up. But it looks like it's definitely worth it. I think we might need to set a bed aside next year and give it a try!

Storybook Woods said...

Angie 5 post already and beautiful photos. Ohh I can see it now you are being sucked in to blogville !!! It all looks wonderful. Keep the wonderful posts coming xoxox Clarice

Angie said...

Thanks so much for your comments, Mary and Clarice! Mary, I really want to see what's cooking in your backyard. And it's really not hard to grow potatoes. Frankly, it's one of those crops you can pretty much ignore-nothing will get overipe or bitter or go to seed. And it really is fun to dig-S.M. would love it. Hope you're having a good (albiet soggy) weekend!

Kristin said...

Beautiful photos! This is the first year my oldest didn't plant his garden--so sad! I had every intention of planting a few things, but then was really sick for a few weeks right at the peak planting time. Gave up. Oh well. I'll just enjoy your photos : )

Q said...

We also dug our Red Pontiac potatoes and ate one as fresh as possible, quick steamed with salt and pepper, no butter needed!
I planted 4 varieties this year and am enjoying potato samplers.
Yucon Gold are my favorites so far!
I too enjoy dinners from the garden.
Sherry

Angie said...

Kristin-I'll be sure to throw some produce your way this year. I'm sure I'll have too much.
Sherry-Hello! Glad you're enjoing your potatoes too! Thanks for coming to my blog..

The Feathered Nest said...

I grow potatoes too! There's nothing like growing your own fruits and veggies. This is my first time here and I luv it! I'll be back!

Manuela