Why Did the Potato Cross the Road?

Red Thumb Fingerlings.

Ok, for starters, whoever named these potatoes probably shouldn’t quit their day job. It does no service to these divine little tater morsels. It’s our first time growing this potato variety and I will never NOT grow them again! Unlike classics such as Russet or Yukon Gold, fingerling varieties only grow to 1-2 inches in diameter and 2-3 inches long. Yes, they look like a finger…or a thumb I guess. Fingerlings are not only prized by chefs but also cost more at the grocery store- and now we know at least one reason why. They. Are. Delicious.

Farm Fresh AF

As a market garden farm it would not make economic sense for us to grow Russet (aka Idaho) potatoes. They can often be found on sale at the store for $2/10lb. The space and labor required to hand-tend 10lbs of potatoes in exchange for less than $2 (because fuel to get the product to market, soil amendments, water and power to clean them, etc.) is laughable. To me it really highlights how skewed our food costs are- which points to other bigger issues such as the invisible costs of cheap food (the environment, unethical human labor, etc.) But I digress! We are here to talk taters!

Tater Patch

So Russets are out BUT WE LOVE POTATOES, and I know our customers are interested in spray-free potatoes. What to do? Fortunately I was able to secure fingerling seed potatoes this spring from a local-ish company in Cape Breton. Actually, there is a bit of a story there as we were in the middle of our most intense COVID lock down when the seeds were ready for pickup. We were supposed to meet in Halifax but, unable to leave our communities, resulted in a 2am covert potato seed drop off at our front door. I was so looking forward to these seeds that I am forever grateful to this mystery delivery man! That is SERVICE.

Now, get ready to have your mind blown. You know how there are determinant and indeterminant tomatoes? (No one is judging if you didn’t. Basically determinant tomatoes fruit all at once, while indeterminant can fruit all season. We only have indeterminant varieties on the farm for this reason and some of them are hitting the roof of the greenhouse- literally). WELL- there are also determinant and indeterminant potato varieties! Fingerlings are determinant. So what? Unlike with indeterminant varieties, “hilling” (the process of covering up some of the plant as it grows) will not improve their production. This is also probably why they tend to cost more- they produce what they produce.

Usually we would wait to harvest potatoes once the plant has started to die back (after flowering), but we were too excited. So for dinner we had new fingerling potatoes (with a side of scrambled duck eggs and fried kale). #veggiesmost The texture and flavor is unbeatable- so soft and buttery and a little bit sweet. They legit don’t need butter! We are debating between bringing some to the market on Friday or just keeping them all for ourselves. Hmm decisions decisions. 😉 We also have a second fingerling variety that we are eager to try and with a much more appealing name- Banana!

So why DID the potato cross the road?

Because it saw a fork up ahead.

Keep calm- taters are on!

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