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Meet the new Christmas potato

During the strangeness of this year, my brother Gary and I have been reminding ourselves every day how lucky we are to live where we do, and to work outside.

On the growing side, it’s been a pretty good year. One thing we have noticed is that we’re getting more hot summers and wet autumns, rather than wet winters, and that some potato varieties struggle a bit in the heat.

We do a few variety trials on the farm every year, always looking for something bigger and better. We do look for good disease resistance, but with Riverford the taste is always a priority. You’d think potatoes are potatoes, but there are actually quite a lot of different characteristics and I do get quite excited about them, though a lot of people don’t!

The previous Christmas dinner potato, the King Edward, needed everything to be dead right, and was always a bit of a struggle to grow organically, often growing to quite a small size. So we swapped it for Sorrento this year, which looks-wise is almost identical, with the same white-pink flesh, only it grows a little bigger. It can also stick the dry, hot weather, and it’s a really good roaster.

Roast potato
Not all potatoes are born equal: Sorrento makes a perfect roaster.

We’ll be eating Sorrento with our own Christmas dinner this year. My son is helping us a lot on the farm at the moment and I always want to know which varieties are cooking the best, so together we do a lot of taste tests; I love my roast potatoes. Parboil them, add butter and flour, then give them a bit of a bashing before roasting.

A little tip with Sorrento is don’t overboil them, or you’ll end up with a load of mashed potato; one minute they’re hard, then you just answer the door for a delivery and they’re overdone. The reward is worth it – they taste just as good as a King Edward, and are that little bit bigger, with really smooth, clean skin. I think anybody peeling potatoes at Christmas will be happy with that.

Comments

JeffS

3 Months 1 Week

I thought these potatoes were really good and equal to the ol’ King Edward of which I’ve always been a great fan.

0 Reply

Wren

3 Months 1 Week

We had these potatoes at Christmas. The flavour was excellent. They were delicious roasted and we didn’t even need to peel or parboil them. I’d choose them again over King Edward’s.

0 Reply

Neil and Gary Farley

Gary and Neil Farley run an organic farm in Cullompton, mid Devon, where they grow organic potatoes, carrots, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes to supply Riverford for its organic veg boxes. Their farm has the ideal soil for growing root veg and potatoes; fine and sandy, so that it’s still diggable in winter. They took over the farm from their father and converted it to organic in 1998. 

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