Ask Chef Boy Ari
Spuds From the Ground Up
Q: I want to plant potatoes this spring. I tried last fall to get some seed potatoes but found nothing local or in the more popular catalogues.
Could you please tell me where I can find some of the Rose Finn Apple fingerling potatoes you mentioned in a recent column? They sound too good to pass up.
A: Those Rose Finn Apple fingerlings I wrote about so approvingly were a gift from a friend, who got them from Wood Prairie Farms in Bridgewater, Maine (woodprairie.com). Another good source of potatoes, besides your favorite seed catalog, is Ronniger Potato Farm (ronnigers.com).
By the way, for small-time gardeners, it really isn’t necessary to purchase seed potatoes. The difference between seed potatoes and the potatoes you buy in the store is that the seed potatoes are processed to be certified disease-free. This is important if you are growing a big commercial crop and worth paying extra for. But gardeners can usually get away with finding potatoes you like at the store or farmers market and storing them at room temperature—say, in an eggshell crate on a windowsill that doesn’t get direct sunlight. This will cause them to sprout, or “chit.”
If you go this route, it’s important that your spuds be local so you know they grow in your climate. And they should be chemical-free or organic, because conventionally grown potatoes are often chemically treated so they won’t sprout. And that’s exactly what you want them to do.
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