The Joy of the Humble Spud
After a week on the farm I woke up on Saturday morning to a beautiful, clear, freezing winters day and decided to ride my bike to the farmers market. It’s a 5 km ride sloping gently downhill all the way there, and going through some beautiful forest, although the road is shocking for cyclists (next project get a cycle track!). Zipping down the hill with an icy wind in my face, crossing the river and pushing my bike up the hill into the busy farmers market was a beautiful way to start the day.
Half the joy of going to the market is catching up with people, it’s a happy place, full of stalls selling great local food and everyone is chatting and eating. I’m being pretty strict this month though so unfortunately most of the stalls didn’t pass the true localvore test, really I’m eating only locally grown so as good as all the home made bread and pastries looked and as tempted as I was by the cheeses from Nannup I just decided that I’d have to wait. You can imagine my joy to find Pete Thorne from Margaret River with a big pile of local, organic spuds, I could even buy them unpackaged so I filled up my calico bag with as many potatoes and sweet potatoes as I could and pushed my bike out of the markets considerably heavier than I arrived.
As I wobbled out of town I dropped in to The Melting Pot glass blowers for a quick hug with a good friend only to find out she had read my last blog, picked a bag of avocados and was heading out for a visit, not to miss an opportunity I gave her the heavy bag of spuds and headed home up the gentle hill.
Did buying spuds really pass my guidelines though? I didn’t quite swap them ( well I swapped them for money), I rode my bike, Pete’s local and organic and yep I’m happy with that. What is has done is completely changed my search for carbohydrates as I know I could eat potatoes for every meal if I wanted and suddenly the canna has lost its appeal. It has made me think a lot about what we grow and the importance that we place on each crop. Early settlers to the area grew potatoes (never buy an ex potato farm, they are usually poisoned with Dieldrin) and I can see why, they needed a staple and not being a grain growing area potatoes were it, unfortunately they also brought in Kikuyu grass and with it black beetles (hence the Dieldrin) so growing organic spuds isn’t as simple as tossing them in the ground and watching them grow.
Our potato crop has only been in the ground a month as we were waiting for the rains but now I wonder if we should be spending our precious water on potatoes instead of other crops. It’s all interesting and I suppose that what I’m enjoying most about this month is the food for thought part of it. I do believe that we are living in fragile times, environmentally and economically ,and while I’m not into predicting scenarios I don’t think its being stupid to be prepared for change, if nothing happens and we just keep on going the way we are going having a good crop of spuds in the ground sure isn’t going to be a problem.