Heirloom potatoes – with Robyn Guyton

Growing potatoes is sustainable! They need less water than other carbohydrate crops, almost all are consumed in their country of origin, and they can of course be easily grown at home making them a very sustainable crop for the small gardener. We have discussed in other programmes here on Eco Living in Action how important genetic diversity is for a resilient food system. It is very positive therefore that some growers are seeking out and growing older or ‘heirloom’ varieties – both for their individual qualities and also so that these varieties are preserved for future generations.

In April 2014 I visited with Robyn and her husband at their home in Riverton. Among many sustainable living and education activities, Robyn grows approximately 20 varieties of heirloom potato. One of the fun things I did there was to help her sort through some of the varieties of potatoes they have.

Back in the OAR studio, I spoke to Robyn by phone in May about her HEIRLOOM POTATOES.To listen to this podcast please contact Maureen on ecolivinginaction@gmail.com

Robyn displays some Pink Firs (left) and ?? (right).

Robyn displays heirloom varieties – Pink Fir Apple (left) and La Ratte (right).

A ?? - great for boiling and in salads

Pink Fir Apple – great for boiling and in salads. Famous in Ireland since 19th century.

The Kowinini - this wonderful potato was grown by Maori. Good cropper. Floury texture, great tasting.

The Kowhiniwhini – this wonderful potato was grown by Maori. Good cropper. Floury texture, great tasting.

Robyn says that potatoes with deep eyes are thought to have come to New Zealand straight from Peru rather than via Europe where deep eyed potatoes were disliked.

Robyn tells us that heirloom potatoes with deep eyes are thought to have come to New Zealand straight from Peru rather than via Europe where deep eyed potatoes were considered less desirable. (Potato variety depicted in photo: Urenika)

urenika

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