The invitation to be key speaker at The Organic Centre's Potato Day in Leitrim was the excuse I needed to cross the small pond, renew old potato friendships and develop new. It was good to eat again at Mulligan's in the Stoneybatter. They supply an amazing range of Irish and foreign ales. Friday was a fine day and ideal for a quick survey of seed potato outlets in Co. Wicklow with Colm. Had a quick look at Mount Usher Garden and vowed to return at leisure; not a potato in sight.
|Copper spray on sale with seed potatoes - gardeners do not know how lethal this stuff is!|
Dinner at Podraig Galligher's The Boxty House in Temple Bar. As you would expect, he uses substantial quantities of ware spuds and is keen to put Sarpos on the menu and grow some Sarpos as decoration for outside the restaurant.
|Podraig's Potato Scratchings are made from thin slices of Boxty - scrummy.|
|Turf-smoked salmon with Lumper potatoes|
Colm O’Callaghan drove us to Leitrim on Saturday in time for a great potato lunch. We had a sharp audience for the Sarpo talk although I hear 6-nations game kept some at home. After much potato crack, Colm drove us back via the stunning scenery of Kinlough and Enniskillin, diving in and out of NI Co. Fermanagh – real blight (and famine) country.
Sunday was a grand day. We met farmer John Swabby-Miller at Red Cross, Co. Wicklow to see his part-harvested crop of Axona. Although planted late, the crop grew away fast and smothered a huge weed population including thistles. The field where the Axonas were still to harvest was totally free of weeds and the test digs yielded excellent samples that Kaethe will offer to the great and the good of the Dublin food scene. John grows a range of veg for his farmers’ market at Red Cross. He is offering to grow plots of all the Sarpos for demonstration in the summer.
|Axona samples look in excellent condition|