Skip to content

Market Fresh: Old potatoes, new potatoes, tasty potatoes

It’s hard to believe that it is only now officially summer. Strawberries are almost finished, raspberries are in full supply and the cherries are here, too.

It’s hard to believe that it is only now officially summer. Strawberries are almost finished, raspberries are in full supply and the cherries are here, too.

Apparently, we need to shift our thinking about what is ready when and just roll with it. For me, that means new potatoes — as many as I can eat for as long as I can eat them.

So, let’s make this column an ode to the potato.

First, some history: Potatoes are part of the nightshade family. That makes it a relative of tomatoes and eggplants. It is the world’s fourth largest food crop, with the bulk of the supply coming from China.

Aren’t we fortunate to be able to buy locally grown potatoes almost year round? Potatoes are really old, too. They are indigenous to Peru and were domesticated more than 7,000 years ago — and there are now more than a thousand varieties. I grew up eating russets and new potatoes as there weren’t too many choices in Kamloops in the 1970s.

Thankfully, that has changed, for as much as I like a baked russet potato swimming in butter, bacon and sour cream, there are other choices that are better for many other dishes.

Forstbauer Farms are my go to potato people. Something about biodynamic organic farming practices make for the tastiest potatoes. Lindsay Forstbauer tells me the soil on the farm is alive with all the good things needed to produce superior food. In fact, Nikolas tests the soil regularly to ensure it is full of all it needs.

What that means for the potatoes is that you get the most flavourful potatoes around. My favourite are the Siglinde variety, or German butter potato. They have a lovely yellow flesh with a rich buttery flavour. These potatoes are on the waxy side, so they are perfect for roasting on the barbecue or making a potato salad. Try tossing chilled, cooked Siglinde potatoes with a honey, mustard and bacon vinaigrette rather than the traditional mayonnaise dressing — it’s a delicious change.

They hold their shape well, so don’t use them for mashing. If you want a mashing potato, Forstbauer grows Yukon Gold, too. And if red-skinned spuds are your preference, they grow fingerlings and Chieftain. Fingerlings are wonderful when roasted, and Chieftain is a great all-purpose potato.

Try using Chieftains for an impressive Hasselback potato: Simply slice the potato crosswise into thin slices, taking care not to cut all the way through (you want the potato to stay in one piece). It will look like an accordion. Drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle with salt, pepper and perhaps a few herbs, and bake in a hot oven (425 F) until they are easily pierced with a knife and crispy on the edges.

If that seems like too much work, boil the whole potatoes till they are just done. Pour three or four tablespoons of olive oil on a cookie sheet, place the potatoes on the sheet, then grab your potato masher and squish the potatoes! Basically, you are flattening them. Then drizzle a bit more oil on top, season with salt, pepper and herbs, and bake in a 450 F oven until they are crisp.

Whichever potato variety you choose, from whichever farm you choose, know that you are getting the very best fresh local potatoes around.

--Karen Curtis is the Lemonade Lady ( and at the Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam farmers markets. Her column runs monthly.



I want to leave you with a foil-pack dinner that I make all the time. It’s perfect for the oven or the barbecue. (Try the Indian-inspired version, too.)

5-7 potatoes, washed and cut up into chunks (skin on)
1 package Redl’s sausage of your choice, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, cut into bite-size chunks
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp AJI (pick your spice level — I like medium but they make a really hot one too!)
1 tsp The Chef Nose original spice blend (or Montreal steak spice)
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into a large, double thickness sheet of tin foil and seal into a packet. Cook in oven or on the grill for approximately 1 hour.

Make as above, but add chunks of cauliflower as well. Instead of the Chef Nose spice mix, use 1-2 tsp garam masala from Amazing Foods.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks