Posts Tagged ‘potatoes’

Eat more spuds this year . . .

Purple Potatoes… Not just because it’s the year of the potato in Duluth, but also because they’re better for you than you thought, according to NPR.

Good news, eh? (Unless you already knew about nutritious potatoes–you’re such a smart consumer.)

Don’t forget to sign up for a CSA share now to ensure your supply of fresh, locally-grown potatoes (and a wide variety of other yummy veggies) this summer and fall.

And, check out another NPR story on farmers markets and food hubs while you’re here.

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My grandpa, Bruce Dominick, was an avid gardener. My grandparents moved to my hometown when I was a little kid, and my grandpa would drive out to our cattle & hog farm nearly every day to help out. As I recall, he kind of took over the vegetable garden plot, which no one minded at all. Grandpa Bruce’s family farm near Pierz, Minnesota, was a dairy farm, but they also raised raspberries, and my mom says that my Grandpa would drive to Minneapolis at 4 am to sell the berries.  I remember that whenever we had a bumper crop of some vegetable or berry in the garden, he would talk proudly about how we really should sell some of our bounty in town. He was an excellent salesman, so I wish he was around to sell my wares today.

This Memorial Day, while Elden sided our walk-in cooler shed at the farm, my parents and I were finally able to plant our potatoes. I know we were all thinking of Grandpa Bruce for several reasons. He was so proud of his part in organizing the flag display in my hometown, and the last photo we have of him was with my grandma Trudy and the flags on Memorial Day, 1989. He died a few days later, leaving us with not only our memories, but also 480 hills of potatoes he had planted in our family garden that spring. We planted 5 or 6 times as many seed potatoes on Monday, but that was for 55 CSA shares! I know Grandpa would have been excited if he was with us, even if it wasn’t as ambitious a planting as he would have undertaken.

When I asked Elden to take some photos of the potato planting on Monday, he responded that you should never take marketing photos on cloudy days, but who has time on a farm on a sunny day during a wet spring?! Most of these snapshots I took with my cell phone, so you can blame me for the poor quality. Our seasonal creek is running and bubbling in the woods, or at least it was the day I took a stroll to check it. The first snap peas are up in the field, and in the greenhouse, a volunteer pea plant sprouted in the soil this spring. I potted it up, just for fun, and found it trying to climb a neighboring tomato plant the other day. I’ll have to find it a better home somewhere; now that I’ve encouraged it, I feel responsible to keep it going.

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I spotted the first few potato blossoms this week, but I didn’t get a good photo of them. A field of potato plants in bloom is a pretty sight. We only have four rows, two of which are still babies, but the earlier rows are very nice to look at, being quite lush and green at the moment.

A farm member recently confessed to me her ignorance about how potatoes grow, so for those of you who don’t know, potato plants do flower, and they’ll form little berries later on. They can reproduce that way, but to grow potatoes you plant a piece of a potato in the soil. The potato is the tuber of the plant, which is something like a cross between a stem and a root. It grows underground, and to harvest potatoes you stick a potato fork in the ground under the plant and lift. The potatoes dangle from the plant and you shake them loose and pick them up. Yields vary, but you can get 6-8 potatoes from one plant.

Other flowering beauties right now at Stone’s Throw Farm include eggplant and squash. The squash plants have male and female flowers, so they rely on insects for pollination. That’s one reason I’ve been letting the red clover and wildflowers go on the farm — to attract bees.  Eggplant are like tomatoes in that each flower has both the male and female parts. They just need a breeze to shake the plants and achieve pollination.

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