Yes! I beat the rains! It was close last night as I was putting away the wheelbarrow and I quickly picked the last pint of raspberries as the sprinkles began. The long dark days are here.
Above is my excuse for lack of blogging lately. Well, one of them. It is part of my harvest of Ozette potatoes which I dug on Saturday. Unfortunately, due to that (and the impending rain) I had to miss the workshop on the history of the Ozette and the Makah which was held at the WSU extension. I would have loved to be there and learn more about this fascinating and delicious tuber. You can learn a little more about it by reading Greg Atkinson’s Taste article of March 2007.
I planted about a pound of seed potatoes which yielded approximately 16 pounds plus a few crazy volunteer fingerlings. I could have gotten better yields by halving the seed potatoes, but I didn’t have enough room for so many plants! Also, most of them oddly enough never blossomed. Next year I will use my big space for them provided my storage area works out well this year. Don’t want more spuds than can be kept well after all!
So what if you didn’t grow your own backyard spuds this year? Never fear, Skagit County is a big producer of potatoes! Wallace Farms distributes potatoes under the Samish River label to various local retailers and Costco. Wallace’s organic spuds are also often found at the co-op. Norm Nelson, Inc. is most likely a familiar name and their potatoes are found as the Double-N brand in the stores and at their own retail Potato Shed location in Burlington. Knutzen Farms grow the Chuckanut Valley potatoes. For photos of a really big potato production facility, check out Smith and Morrison Farms’ Skagit Valley’s Best Produce galleries. You have no excuse to ever eat an Idaho potato again!
So what do you do with all these potatoes? My first suggestion for Ozettes or any of the lovely fingerling potatoes out now are Shook Potatoes as interpreted by Greg Atkinson. Simple and a delicious way to showcase the fine flavors of local spuds. Later you can have them mashed, smashed, fried, and Frenched, perhaps as dumplings, gnocchi or spaetzle, maybe latkes, chowder or baked. Au gratin? The humble potato is the perfect thing to keep you warm during these dark days of winter.
Now I’m off to shake my potatoes!