National potato day events

January 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm 13 comments

I love potatoes (nothing new there) and over the last few years we’ve worked out which varieties  fair best at our allotment.  Red skinned Robinta potatoes are our favourite for crispy baked skins and autumn storage and Nicola our early choice for melt in the mouth butter drizzled potato salads (or tossed in olive oil and freshly picked thyme leaves as above) .   No doubt you have favourite varieties to recommend but we stick to what works because the cost in time and money is too great if the spuds we gleefully lift are a disappointment.  I know we might be missing out on something even better so you’ll appreciate my excitement at attending the annual Potato Weekend at Dundry Nurseries for the first time this coming Sunday.

150 varieties of seed potatoes will be for sale by the tuber and veteran potato expert Andy McQueen will be giving talks at 11am and 2.30pm (starts at 9.30, ends at 4.30pm).  Don’t fret if you’re not in Gloucestershire, there are other Potato Day events around the UK.  If you fancy trying different varieties Dundry Nurseries have over 100+ varieties for sale loose.

If you’ve 5 minutes to spare you might enjoy watching the Dig for Victory‘ video here, created by the Ministry of Food when they realised people would go hungry when Britain joined the Second World War.  Gardens, sports pitches and factory grounds, large or small, were given over to vegetable growing and thus allotments were born.  It was estimated that 1.4 million people had allotments by the time the war ended in 1945. 

Potatoes were promoted as a good source of energy and protein and Potato Pete’s recipe book was produced to encourage home growing, harvesting and cooking.  Recipe’s like Woolton pie. It never really took off with the British public and I can imagine why – the ingredients sound a bit beige even for my liking and without fat or flour to make a pastry topping a potato, cauliflower, swede and carrot filling topped with a potato crust is not really deserving of the name pie.

Entry filed under: away from the plot. Tags: .

the vanishing of the bees King of the spuds – chatting with potato expert Andy McQueen

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mangocheeks  |  January 22, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I love this entry Nic.

    I was checking out where i could get my potaot seeds earlier in the week. West of Scotland doesn’t seem to have any Potato days, which is stupendous. So for me its either a trip to Edinburgh or Dunblane.

  • 2. miss m  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:38 am

    I said no to potatoes this year. Are you trying to make me regret it ! 😛
    Enjoyed the video ! I watched the Victorian Flower Garden recently. I am presently DLing the Victorian Kitchen. I love Harry Dodson ! (rest his little soul)

  • 3. Cheryl  |  January 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Those look so tasty, it makes me want to try growing potatoes this year.

  • 4. Tom Hayward  |  January 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    We “yanks” love the potato skins, drizzled in oil or butter and covered with chives, bacon and sour cream. Oh, wait a minute! maybe that’s why we have the highest incidence of obesity in 38 countries. . . .

  • 5. Kirsten  |  January 24, 2010 at 3:12 am

    love those spuds as well! my last garden had three different ones and I loved them all! Very envious, looks wonderful!

  • 6. Ann  |  January 24, 2010 at 9:32 am

    The best potatoes I ever grew were Rocket. This year I’m trying Kestrel. Did you watch Ration Book Britain?

  • 7. Jacqueline  |  January 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    Your potatoes look very tasty, it must be very satisfying digging them up.

    Have you heard Mangocheeks dreadful news? You should head over there. It is heartbreaking.

  • 8. Jesse  |  January 25, 2010 at 9:40 am


    Love the blog! I’m the Web Editor at the Imperial War Museum in London and we’ve just started running a blog on wartime gardening and cooking ( Do you mind if we add you to our ‘Links’ list?

    (Also, don’t blame you for not liking the sound of Woolton Pie – a pie without butter isn’t really a pie at all!)

  • 9. Nip it in the bud  |  January 25, 2010 at 10:23 am

    MC – I definitely recommend Dundry Nurseries for their range of spuds. I got half a dozen of 10 different varieties for £4.66 (including my favourite Nicola and Robinta which costs me £1.99 for 10 last year). I’m so excited!

    Miss M – wot no spuds? Of course I think you should change your mind! You would have loved the potato day. I caught the Christmas edition of the Victorian kitchen. Love the cooking (well perhaps not the meaty stuff so much) but not a fan of the hairdo’s 😉

    Cheryl – you won’t regret it, potatoes are so easy to grow and digging them out is one of the best feelings in the world. Your boys would love it.

    Tom – they are delicious like that of course. No comment on your size of your nation’s waistlines! (although plenty of contenders in Britain to for beds on the cardiac ward)

    Kirsten – the potato day was fab and I have about 10 varieties for this year. Can’t wait for Easter to come so I can get them in.

    Ann – they had both those varieties but with over 100 to choose from I took the easy route and asked the expert! Will be posting later so may give you some other ideas of spuds to try. I haven’t seen ration book Britain. Is it a BBC production? We only get to see things on Iplayer or 4oD.

    Jac – it’s the best 🙂
    I hadn’t seen MC’s posts – shocking! Ironic that it happened the day after she said they’ve been thinking of moving – perhaps it will make that decision easier and before we know it MC will be sharing wonderful garden2kitchen

    Jesse – I’d be delighted to be added to your links (I shall do the same to yours). The blog is great and the new exhibition sounds very exciting. They have copies of Potato Pete’s recipe book for sale at Dundry Nurseries.

  • 10. Ann  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Ration Book Britain was on the Yesterday channel – it followed on from The War Time Kitchen and Garden, a programme that was first shown getting on for 20 years ago.

  • 11. Choclette  |  January 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Yum yum, that photograph has got my gastric juices flowing. One of our favourites is Peruvian Purple which we’ve kept going for over 10 years now – purple flesh, dark skin, looks like an Andean potato, which it is. Keeps well, tastes good, roasts, mashes and bakes well – also a great talking point. Downside, small tubers, blight susceptible, stains your fingers and hard to see when digging up. Must take some pictures some time.

  • 12. Nip it in the bud  |  January 26, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Ann – sounds fascinating. With programmes like that available I’d be hard pushed to drag myself off the sofa and into the garden if I had satellite telly!

    Choc – what a brilliant name for a spud and a perfect all rounder too. Can’t wait to see your pics or perhaps see it in the flesh – do you fancy a swap?

  • 13. Choclette  |  January 26, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    What a nice idea. Happy to send you a few and get a surprise in return.

    Have you got my e-mail?


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