potato_reds_yellows.jpgPotato: We grow Satina (yellow) and CalReds

Potato is a cool-season vegetable that ranks with wheat and rice as one of the most important staple crops in the human diet around the world. The white potato is referred to as the "Irish potato" because it is associated with the potato famine in Ireland in the 19th century. Potatoes are not roots but specialized underground storage stems called "tubers." Maximal tuber formation occurs at soil temperatures between 60° and 70°F. The tubers fail to form when the soil temperature reaches 80°F. Potatoes withstand light frosts in the spring and can be grown throughout most of the country in the cooler part of the growing season, but they prefer the northern tier of states for maximal yield and quality.

Satina: Satina is an medium maturing, very high yielding fresh market potato variety with high numbers of short oval tubers per plant. The tubers have a smooth yellow skin and yellow flesh color. Satina has long storage capabilities and when cooked or peeled has a high resistance to discoloration. Satina is a German variety.

CalRed: CalRed is an early to medium maturing, fresh market red potato. The tubers have a bright red skin color that does not fade in storage. The tuber skin has a pleasing shiny surface. It tends to have a high very evenly sized set of round tubers that have a low suceptibility to external and internal defects.

Nutritional value and health benefits: Potatoes were once considered just a dietary source of starch. Although potatoes do contain a goodly amount of carbohydrate (starch and sugar) they are also a storehouse for many vitamins and minerals. With the exception of vitamin A, potatoes have at least some of just about every nutrient, including fiber. Potatoes are relatively low in calories, unless they are eaten with butter, sour cream and mayonnaise.

Nutrition Facts (1 oblong white, baked, about 2" x 4-3/4")

    Calories 145
    Protein 3.06 grams
    Carbohydrates 33.63 grams
    Dietary Fiber 2.34 grams
    Calcium 7.80 mg
    Iron .55 mg
    Magnesium 39.00 mg
    Potassium 609.96 mg
    Phosphorus 78.00 mg
    Vitamin C 19.97 mg
    Niacin 2.17 mg
    Folate 14.20 mcg

Preparation and serving: Potatoes can be boiled, fried, steamed, grilled or baked. All potatoes should be cooked or placed in water immediately after peeling to prevent discoloration. To peel or not to peel is generally a result of the preparation method or personal preference. The exceptions are thin-skinned new potatoes, which should not be peeled.

Potato varieties should be selected based on their use in a recipe. New potatoes are moist and waxy and are best for steaming, boiling and in salads. Oblong mature white potatoes are rather dry and starchy. They are the most popular french-fried potato and they are great for baking and mashing. Round red potatoes have a rather waxy texture making them ideal for boiling and mashing. Round white potatoes are thin-skinned and hold their shape in salads as well as boiling and roasting. Yellow-fleshed potatoes are good for steaming, roasting, and mashing.

Fresh garden herbs that enhance the flavor of potatoes include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, lovage, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.

Home Preservation: Potatoes do not freeze, dry or can with good results. For long term storage of late fall crops, store at temperatures of 45 to 50°F. After harvesting, place in the sun for two to three hours to dry, brush off the soil, do not wash until ready to use. If storage temperatures are too high, potatoes tend to soften and sprout. Store in a dark place to prevent greening and layer between sheets of newspaper so if one spoils it will not spread to the whole lot.


New Potatoes with Garlic and Herbs

Using a vegetable brush, gently scrub potatoes under cold running water. Do not peel the thin skin away. The fresh herbs and garlic compliment the potato flavor rather than overwhelm it. Use any fresh herb available to you.

  • 8 to 10 small new potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, dill or thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon each, freshly ground pepper and salt
  1. Cut potatoes in half, then quarters then across quarters into cubes (about 2 cups). Place in a colander, and rinse well under cool running water. Place in a saucepan with enough water to just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the parsley together with the garlic until finely minced.
  3. Drain the potatoes and toss with olive oil. Add parsley/garlic mixture, salt and pepper and toss until combined. Makes 4 servings.