Beth Siegalkoff

Happy National Potato Day! Today is the day to celebrate and enjoy a few potatoes. The versatile spud can be enjoyed in some way for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as a snack. While it can be eaten raw, it is usually cooked, boiled, baked, mashed or fried. It is used in countless recipes. What really makes the potato stand out is the many things you can put on or in it – as demonstrated by the loaded baked potato.

Regardless of how you cook it or what you put in it, Americans can’t seem to get enough of the starchy spud. They consume 30 pounds per person per year. Potatoes are one of the largest vegetable crops in the world with China leading the way in producing the most potatoes. Potatoes were first cultivated in Peru, around 5,000 – 7,000 BC. Pardon the broad estimate, but records were sparse back then, often written on the inside wall of a cave.

Potatoes have more potassium then a banana and most of the nutrients are in the skin of the potatoes. While most potatoes grow to about the size of your fist or less, the largest potato ever grown, weighed in at 18 pounds, 4 ounces. Now that is a whole lot of French fries. Speaking of French fries – a quarter of the potatoes grown are consumed as French fries. And Thomas Jefferson introduced French fries to the White House during his presidency.

Potatoes are easy to grow. We grow them every year all year long. Whenever we have potatoes that have been around for a while and start to grow stems out of the eyes, Don cuts the potato in sections with each section having a sprouted eye and plants the sections. He plants them in a half barrel or tub.

With sunshine, water, good dirt and patience, the potato grows a nice green plant about 15-24 inches high. Make sure to keep them from freezing, if you are growing potatoes in the winter. Eventually, the foliage begins to turn yellow and die (about 3 to 4 months).

Don pushes the tubs over onto a tarp and, ta-da, potatoes – all sizes, and they are all ready to eat. Easy picking. We steam the small ones and then coat them in a garlic parsley butter sauce. The rest will eventually get mashed, baked or fried.

There is nothing tastier than the potatoes you grow yourself. So, enjoy a potato or two today. And don’t forget to put some aside to develop into seed potatoes so you can plant. You may be able to have them ready for Christmas dinner. Wouldn’t that be something – eating your own homegrown potatoes at Christmas?

By the way, speaking of Christmas, there are 128 shopping day until Christmas. And yes, even with this oppressive heat, I bought a few gifts this past weekend, all the while social distancing. And then, I was speaking with a friend on Sunday and she said she just got a text from another friend who just finished with fall decorating at her home. She said she needed a change of scenery. I think we all do and, if a little fall decorating helps, I’m all for it.

High school business days last week were a success. Less than 50 students have yet to pick up their tablets and textbooks. They will get their materials this week. This is the first week the staff and students are distance learning with Zoom. It would be ideal to have everyone on campus, but that isn’t going to take place until this virus is under control. So Zooming is the next best thing, and it is working.

Flower of the day – Aster; Recipe of the day – Garden Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Dates to remember:

Sept. 2 – Harvest Full Moon

Sept. 7 – Labor Day (3-day weekend)

Sept. 11 – Patriots Day

Sept.22 – Autumnal Equinox

Until next week – Be strong, be courageous and make a memory.