Featured at the Winter Farmers’ Market: Potatoes

At each Winter Farmers’ Market, we feature a seasonal vegetable and provide tips on buying, storing and cooking them. This week, for our December 3rd market, we’re taking a look at potatoes. Expect to see over 10 vendors bring a wide variety of spuds, from the familiar Russet to Purple Majesty (it has purple skin and flesh!). We may even see some sweet potatoes from Riverside Farm and Ramsbotham’s Riverview Farm! Be sure to pick up a recipe card at our info table. Our volunteers Jennifer Purrenhage and Erin Allgood will be there to show some techniques in preparing potatoes, and will be handing out samples of local flavor.

Potatoes: Local makes a difference

The humble potato is a staple of our New England diet. Mashed and scalloped, added to stews, or roasted and fried, this familiar winter vegetable is a mainstay of our food culture. Our local farmers grow a huge variety of these tubers (many more than found in the supermarket) including Purple Majesty, Keuka, Kennebec, Russet, Adirondack Red and Yukon Gold. Planted in late spring and harvested in fall, potatoes are then put in cold storage to grace our tables all winter long.

Purchasing: Select firm and unwrinkled potatoes of any size and shape. Potatoes can be blue, red, white, or yellow. They can be small and round, or even banana shaped. In addition to the potato’s many appearance and flavor variations, they also differ in starch content, which contributes to texture variations. Some recipes call for waxy, creamy, moist, or dry. When purchasing potatoes from your local farmer, be sure to inquire about its variety and its best use.

Storing: Store potatoes wrapped in a plastic bag in your fridge. For bulk purchases, store in your root cellar, covered, at 32–40 degrees F, with 80–90% relative humidity.

Cooking and Eating: As a general guideline, drier potatoes are good for mashing. Waxy potatoes are good for boiling. Moister potatoes are a good choice for scalloping and gratins, and creamy potatoes are great for soups. Potatoes are high in dietary fiber and vitamin C, and contain protein, iron, and calcium. With this wide range of flavors, colors and textures, you will find that the humble spud is versatile and can be included in new ways in your kitchen.

Recipes:

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