The potato originated in the Andes at least 8000 years ago but it was only in the 1530s that the Spanish Conquistadors brought it back to Europe. However for a long time it was not considered acceptable as a foodstuff and in northern Europe potatoes were mainly grown in botanical gardens as an exotic novelty. In Elizabethan times it was served roasted in ashes or soaked in wine and then dressed with oil and vinegar and boiled with prunes which perhaps explains why it didn’t catch on as a vegetable for another 200 years!
Although harder to grow down in the valleys and on the coast, the climate in Dorrigo, with its red soil and open land, is famous for growing some of the best potatoes in Australia. At the current count we sell seven varieties of local organically grown potatoes in store:
Desiree Potatoes : The ‘Désirée’ is a red-skinned main-crop potato originally bred in the Netherlands in 1962. It has yellow flesh with a distinctive flavour and is a favourite with allotment-holders because of its resistance to drought, and is fairly resistant to disease. It is a versatile, fairly waxy variety which is firm and holds its shape, and is useful for all methods of cooking, from roasting to mashing and salads.
Nicola Potatoes : A long to oval-shaped waxy potato with yellow skin and flesh with a buttery flavour. Makes a terrific salad or boiling potato but is also great for mash, dry baking and gratins and baked dishes but not recommended for frying.
Coliban Potatoes : A r ound potato, with shallow eyes and a white, bright skin which sometimes has a blue blush at the rose end. It is easy to mash and bakes well. Coliban can be used for making hot chips.
Royal Blue Potatoes : Long oval shape potatoes with blue/purple skin and yellow flesh. Excellent table quality and taste, with no darkening following cooking, a high dry matter content. Suitable for bake roasting, excellent for chips on the BBQ and frying. Very good in the microwave, boiling and mashing. Not suitable for salads or straight boiled/steamed potatoes.
King Edward Potatoes : Love a good story and this potato has one! According to Wikipedia i t was bred by a gardener in Northumberland who called it ‘Fellside Hero’ and passed into the hands of a grower in Yorkshire and in turn a potato merchant in Manchester who, having no use for it, passed it onto John Butler of Scotter in Lincolnshire . He in turn purchased all the seed stocks available and multiplied the variety on 50 acres of land before renaming the variety King Edward on the advice of a potato merchant.
The Coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 coincided with the introduction of this variety of potato and its name is believed to originate as a ‘commemoration’ of this occasion. It is claimed that the grower wrote to Buckingham Palace seeking permission to name his potato after the monarch and that a reply was received granting royal assent.
The King Edward potato has a round to oval shape, floury texture, creamy white flesh, smooth pale skin with pink markings. Its floury texture means it makes beautiful mash, fluffy roast potatoes and can be dry baked but is not recommended for salads or frying.
Eureka Potatoes : The Eureka is oval in shape with cream skin and white flesh. It has performed well in trials in all seasons and has the potential to be a very high yielding variety. Its cosmetic appearance is better than Delaware and it maintains its bloom after washing. The Eureka has good frying qualities, but tends to fall apart if over-boiled.
Sebago Potatoes : A long to oval shaped all-rounder with white flesh and skin. Sebago potatoes are considered the all-purpose potato and are the most widely used variety. These potatoes are high in nutrients and virtually fat free. This potato is great for boiling, mash, roasting, baking, chips and mash.