The 'Lumper' potato story

The Lumper was a prolific potato grown widely in Ireland before the famine.  It out-yielded most and was much appreciated by poor people and livestock but eschewed by the better off as it was a low-dry matter potato with not much flavour.  Now you can have that very experience from Marks and Spencers.  They are selling Lumpers in Ireland in good time for St Patrick's day so that you can have the experience of the old days but with healthy blight-free potatoes.

Of course the prolific 'Lumper' was highly susceptible to blight (like all the other varieties of that time).  But the variety has survived to become an 'heirloom' potato, valued for its rarity. This means that to grow it today, the grower has to apply the weekly doze of fungicide to keep the dreaded tuber blight out of his pre-packs for the supermarket.  If you want a different variety to tempt the customer, why not choose one that tastes good and has resistance to blight and do your bit to save the planet?

Salaman in his "The history and social influence of the potato" tells a nice little tale.  A poor boy in Ireland (pre-famine) was beaten in his school exams by a rich boy called Laughlin. He protested that it was unfair as Laughlin had the great advantage of dining off 'Gregors Cups', a much higher quality variety than the one he had to eat.

Read more about Lumpers in the National Geographic