You say patata, I say potatl

15 10 2007

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.

Ozette potato harvest

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!

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5 responses

17 10 2007
Steve Lospalluto

Hi. I’ll be interested to hear how you like the Ozette potatoes.I grew them for a couple of years back in 1984-85 when we lived in Dungeness on the Olympic Peninsula. A friend gave us some seed from the Makah reservation.They yielded well like yours seem to. But flavor and texture didn’t measure up to a lot of other yellow potatoes. We couldn’t get people too interested in them. I guess there could be a lot of variation. The historical significance, especially for the Makahs, makes it worth growing, but I have been a little surprised at the momentum building behind them now. Maybe I should give them a go here in the Skagit too.
By the way, thanks for the mention on your farm tour post.
Cheers, Steve

17 10 2007
Saara

Hi Steve! We like them just fine, but I’m a bit disappointed that they didn’t taste as “nutty” as advertised (at least so far). I grew them mostly since they’re historically interesting. I’m looking for a yellow, waxy, nutty potato like the Swedish almond but not as mealy. Suggestions? 🙂
We didn’t get a chance to stop by during the Farm Tour, but I do intend to stop by and get a closer look at those wonderful baskets some day.

19 10 2007
sekhmet

We grew Ozettes last year and love the flavor. Tried other varieties this time around, just to taste something else. But we got one Ozette volunteer plant from a missed tater last fall. The spuds were so wonderful wiped with a little olive oil, some salt & pepper, then roasted. So they are going back on rotation next spring!

We love the history behind them too. We’re going to try soem using the straw method, where you plant the seed in the ground, but hill up with straw for the spuds to form. It’s supposed to yield nice taters, and might help with any residual wireworm issues. But we’ll do some in Stella compost for a trial.

19 10 2007
Dark Days Challenge - Week #1 Recap « Urban Hennery

[…] at the Skagit Foodshed, Saara has an impressive harvest of home grown potatoes to see her through the winter, as well as a list of local sources if you didn’t grow your […]

2 11 2007
DDELC « Feasting in the Skagit foodshed

[…] we have a chanterelle chowder that I made with my own Ozette spuds, chanterelles from BC (could have been wild-harvested locally, but these were fresh in the fridge, […]

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