So one of the great things I like about farming is that, no matter how many years I’ve done this for, I still get that little jittery happy “do a little dance” feeling every time a new crop comes on in all it’s glory. Even a crop I’ve grown every year for 15+ years now.
(This is probably the result of experiencing over the years, on more than one occasion, the disappointing slightly nauseous feeling that accompanies the realization that the crop, despite best intentions, has succumbed to weather, bugs, disease or perhaps my father getting a little too excited while the disking out those “weeds”…i.e. “crop”).
And out of all the crops we grow, potatoes are up in my top three of “Ooh, ooh, ooh” excitement when we start harvesting. ESPECIALLY…when we start harvesting “True New Potatoes.” Now you might think I’m silly, but TRUE New Potatoes are the real deal. Those “New” potatoes you see in the store???? Those aren’t “new” potatoes. They are just LITTLE old potatoes!
A True New Potato (and it is so important, it deserves capitalization!), is a potato that is harvested while the potato plant is…still…growing. The general rule of thumb is to start doing this when you see the potato plant flowering (although it can depend on the potato variety as far as how quickly they set up some new potatoes of enough size to be worth harvesting). Typically the potatoes themselves tend to be generally on the small size because the plant is young, although not always. But the main way you know a True New Potato from those fake “New” potatoes (the result of some scheming marketing hacks in the Potato commission, I think!), is that the skin is not set on a True New Potato. In fact, they look kinda like they are suffering from potato leprosy!
But…don’t be dissuaded by appearances (this in one of the big things conventional/grocery store produce does, lulls you with a lovely appearance forgetting that often a beautiful exterior can hide an evil, or in the case of vegetables, inferior tasting, heart!). True New Potatoes are the sweetest, creamiest, yummiest potato of the season. This is because by harvesting them before they are “mature” we are pulling them before their sugars start converting into starches. So, so, so DIVINE!
And because their skins are so thin, and not set, you can simply “peel” them by rubbing them with your hands or a light veggie scrubber. Be warned however, True New Potatoes will not keep. Again, that is what a set “skin” does for a potato. So keep them in the fridge and use them up within a week. And remember, a True New Potato is one of those crops that is truly seasonal, we can only harvest them while our potato crops is young and growing. Another 6 weeks and the season will be past and it will be next year before you can experience them again.
So come out today on this beautiful day, to the Coupeville and Bayview farmer’s market…and enjoy! True New Potatoes! (And come early, we expect they will sell out FAST!)
Of course, we have plenty of other goodies along with the potatoes, including…
* Mesclun * Arugula * Spinach * Head Lettuce * White Japanese Turnips * Scarlett Queen Pink Japanese Turnips * French Breakfast Radishes * Pink Beauty Radishes * Raab * Kale * Chard * Fava Beans * Walla salad onions * Rhubarb * Fresh Garlic * Garlic Scapes * Broccoli and more!
Hope to see you at market!
Farmer Georgie, Willowood Farm of Ebey’s Prairie