River Cottage HQ cook Sarpo - love them!

I recently sent samples of 5 Sarpo varieties, grown here in N. Wales to RC's head chef Gelf Alderson. Here is his careful assessment.

Sarpo potatoes – an evaluation at River Cottage HQ

For all varieties I boiled, mashed and chipped, the stand out two varieties were the Shona and the Axonas, these two would fit most needs of a commercial operation and would be the varieties I would be most interested in growing.
                             Sarpo Shona
·         Made good mash, if being ultra-critical had a slightly powdery finish on it, but still an excellent result, smooth, fluffy and a good potato flavour
·         Amazing chips, one of the best chipping potatoes I have used, blew away any organic variety I can currently source
·         Boiled and eaten cold they were perfectly acceptable but were quite powdery and would have to have a good dressing or mayonnaise to make them usable cold.

Blue Danube

·         Made a nice smooth mash, really nice texture although a little weak on flavour
·         Made ok chips, did really crisp up that well, not as good as the Shona or Axona
·         Not good cold, had a strange texture and lacked flavour

Sarpo Una

·         Did not make good mash, very sticky and over worked almost instantly
·         Ok chips, I actually sautéed this variety as well and it worked slightly better, better than the average organic potato
·         Was ok cold a little watery and slightly lacking in flavour

Sarpo ‘Axona’

·         Made the best mash of the bunch, light, fluffy, really good flavour, a pleasure to work with
·         Really good chips hard to fault, light, crispy didn’t take on too much oil, really good quality
·         Nice cold could be put to many uses without too much needed to help it out, retained it’s flavour and maintained a good texture.

Sarpo ‘Kifli’
·         Did not make good mash, very wet, gloopy and tasteless
·         Not good chips, dry matter content way too low could not get them to crisp at all
·         Best use for them were cold but were not as good as the Axona or Shona. ( Although my thought may not be that positive on this variety they are around the standard of about 50% of the organic potatoes on the market currently)

I hope this helps in the development of these varieties for you and I would be interested in getting some of the Shonas and Axonas grown for me, and am starting to talk to some local farmers to see if they are interested. Although I have levelled criticism at some of varieties the Danube, Shona and Axona are way above the standard of main crop organic potatoes, so I look forward to spreading the word.
Gelf Alderson.

Head Chef, River Cottage HQ , January 2014

Gelf did not test them as roasties but others have found Blue Danube to be 'The best roast potato- ever'.
Sarpo Una is really an early potato and eats best when freshly harvested 'in the green' from the field.
Sarpo Kifli is a summer potato yielding very good-tasting potatoes when freshly harvested from late July through until October. It is ideal for a box scheme.