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 too check out Dundry Nurseries ‘tater’base with 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.