Potatoes, and a Small Mystery

By CSA member, Susan Wanderman

I love opening my CSA box and seeing fresh potatoes so I decided to research and learn a bit more about this amazing vegetable. Potatoes are the fourth largest food crop worldwide, after rice, wheat and corn. They started out in the high Andes around where Peru is now, and adapted to other elevation zones and continents.


Potatoes were brought to Europe by Spanish explorers and quickly evolved from a subsistence crop to a staple.  There are more than 4000 varieties of potatoes today. There are potato councils and associations in the United States and in other countries, which offer advice to consumers and growers. There are even listings for potato related jobs, and potato songs on You Tube.


But then, I came across a small mystery as I looked through the many recipes on the Internet. Some United Kingdom sites had recipes calling for Maris Piper potatoes, describing them as the fluffy classic potatoes of childhood memories. They sounded delicious. I had never come across this variety, and my web search showed some answers that in the United States, Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes are almost, but not exactly, the same as the Maris Pipers of the United Kingdom.  My search will continue.


While it may be hard to find food equivalents, I am glad when our weekly CSA share includes potatoes that are so sweet and fresh.  I am happy when they are on my plate.

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