Uh....Scuse me. I was just dreaming about the kind of dishes that I will hopefully be enjoying as this glorious summer grinds on. The bulk of the Bird Family tomato crop is still weeks away from turning any other color than green -- but some harvests are coming in thank you very much.
Bill and Venus Bird once again find themselves buried under a massive load of spuds thanks to our weekend harvesting efforts -- as evidence by that rather tasty and blurry photo to your right.
The really good news is the sister-in-law -- Leana -- is coming to the rescue with the gift of a digital camera she no longer finds useful. And believe me -- it's better than anything Bill Bird has ever used. I had to promise Leana -- of course -- that the new camera will not be taken on a rafting trip down the Rogue or any other river for that matter. Done.
Folks -- the photo above and the one to your left is the result of planting one 4X8 foot raised bed with a single lb. of "All Red," "All Blue," and "Colorado Rose" seed potatoes purchased from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply in Grass Valley. The harvest appears to be a tad larger this year when compared to last year -- but it's also true that the sizes are down somewhat.
The lovely wife that is Venus and I were pulling monster-sized Red and Blue potatoes from the potato patch last year in an eye-popping harvest that apparently will not be duplicated anytime soon (last year was just "special" -- on so many fronts). It seemed as if every other potato pulled from last year's patch was a "baking" type variety. This year? Perhaps one in five?
But -- while the sizes are down -- production is up. Venus and I harvested so many spuds over the weekend that it took two sets of hands to haul the freshly harvested bounty into the GarageMahal. And Venus promptly brought the Saturday harvest to the Sunday table with a DELISH potato offering (I'll have to post up that recipe).
I'll be honest. Venus and I have been looking forward to the potato harvest for the better part of six to seven months. That's about when we ran through the last potato from last year's harvest -- our first. It was then that we discovered that --like heirloom tomatoes -- no spud is the same. The potatoes that you grow in your own backyard are unlike anything that you purchase at your local supermarket.
In fact? There is no comparison.
Our favorite meal? Well -- I'm almost embarassed to admit it -- but our favorite meal is not the healthiest use of this backyard produce. There is nothing better -- in my humble opinion -- than a tasty snack of "All Red" and "All Blue" deep-fried french fries. It's eyeball-roll-back-in-the-skull kind of good. McDonald's french fries are rumored to be the best fries on the planet bar none -- but I have no doubt that Mayor McCheese himself would be hard-pressed not to proclaim our discovery "Fries From Heaven."
Yeah -- it's that good.
Venus and I have come to discover that spuds grow best in a raised bed. The environmental conditions are so much easier to control in a raised bed when compared to direct-ground planting. Potatoes grow well -- and larger I might add -- in a bed filled with soil that is not compacted (in other words -- no clay).
Although our test planting in the direct-ground bed did yield a nice harvest -- the sizes of the spuds were noticeably smaller. Almost none of them were large enough to proclaim them as true "baking" type potatoes.
No matter. We'll still find a good use for them.
Our harvest -- like everything else so far this year -- is a tad late. We're about three weeks behind where we were last year at this point -- and there's also no doubt in my mind that our less-than-desirable spring weather also affected potato sizes this year.
But you know what gardeners say, right? Better late than never!