I have a serious case of potato envy. Just got back from a month in Lincolnshire, England, a place where potatoes matter. With most meals, at home or out, people serve a huge bowl of boiled, buttered potatoes, and a discussion ensues over the flavor, variety, comparison to other potatoes of this year and other years. Everyone knows whether theyre Ulster Prince, Pink Fir Apple, British Queen, Picasso, etc. And the potatoes taste great. People dont buy them unless they taste great. Lincolnshire potatoes are fantastic.
So here I am, home in upstate NY farm country, and the potatoes are all either russet new white or Yukon Gold. (And the so-called new potatoes are very rarely newtheyre just mystery waxy varieties.) Okay, McEnroe Organic farmstand has Russian Banana fingerlings as well. None of these has any flavor. Yukon Golds can be okay if they are kept right, but they dont get near the flavor of English varieties. The whole Yukon Gold hype is just ridiculousin the 80s all of a sudden American chefs latched on to this one, easy-to-grow, early maturing okay-tasting variety as a big deal. They really arent that good.
And the supermarkets all wet the potatoes so they go moldy and leave them out in the daylight so they go green. Even recipes in American potato-oriented cookbooks just call for either russets or waxy.
Ive tried to grow my own potatoes from Ronningers seed potatoesKennebec, Yukons, Yellow Finn, and Green Mountain. Unfortunately I dont have great potato soil or enough water to grow good potatoes. Im stumped. How come even the good farmers markets and farmstands have cruddy potatoes?