probably guessed that most of the potatoes I grow are not the common sorts you
are likely to find in a supermarket. My rule of thumb: Why grow something that
you can just as easily buy? If you belong to Seed Savers Exchange, a nonprofit
grassroots seed organization in Decorah, Iowa, you can get any of the potatoes
I have mentioned—that’s where I acquired mine. However, many produce growers
have unusual potatoes, and sometimes you can pick up samples here and there
just by asking. All you really need to start your own potato patch is one or
two tubers, which you can then cut into quarters and plant. And by the way, if
you have a potato collection that’s kept in storage in an old refrigerator
(like mine), you may refer to it properly as a tuberarium. Just in case you
have a guest who considers potatoes too lowbrow.
Eight Potatoes Worth Knowing
Large, smooth tuber with cranberry-red
skin and rose-pink flesh. Retains color when cooked. Multipurpose. Stores well.
Midseason variety developed by Robert Lobitz of Paynesville, Minnesota, and
introduced about 1984.
- Arran Victory
Round, smooth tuber with bright
violet skin and white flesh. Considered the Rolls-Royce of potatoes. Best when
steamed then spritzed with a little Scotch whisky. Flavor improves with
storage. Midseason variety developed by Donald Mackelvie of Lamlash, Isle of
Arran, Scotland, and introduced in 1918.
- Beauty of Hebron
Large and blocky with pink skin and
white flesh. Good all-purpose potato. Early variety developed by Albert Bresee
of Hubbardton, Vermont, and introduced in 1878.
- Bliss’s Triumph
Large and blocky with beautiful
rose-pink skin and white flesh. Very good all-purpose potato with a rich,
smooth texture. Early variety introduced by B.K. Bliss & Sons of New York
Large, smooth, and somewhat kidney-shaped
with parchment-colored skin covered with deep violet patches. Flavor of pale
yellow flesh hints of toasted almonds or freshly baked bread. Similar culinary
traits as Arran Victory, and considered its equal by many food experts.
Midseason variety developed by Archibald Finlay of Auchtermunchty, Scotland, in
Oblong and blocky with violet-brown skin
and white flesh. Early variety with a strong mushroom flavor. Found in the
1920s near the town of Ancud on the island of Chiloé, off the coast of Chile,
by Russian geneticist Nikolay Vavilov of Moscow.
Long and narrow with blue-black skin and
dark blue flesh. When cut with a knife, the raw potato exudes inky juice that
stains. When boiled, potato turns blue-gray; when steamed, it holds its color.
Midseason variety introduced into France from Peru about 1815.
- La Ratte d’ardÈche
Long, smooth tuber usually hooked
into a point at one end. Skin is parchment-colored, flesh a soft yellowish
white. Being grown commercially in Oregon under the name La Ratte de Paris by
Jim Huston, who first marketed Yukon Golds.Very early variety introduced in
France in 1872 and now one of the cornerstones of Parisian potato cookery.