Usually the addition of a crop to our farm is the result of a deliberate and lengthy (if not always scientific) process. But to my surprise, I find I am suddenly a potato farmer.
How did this happen, you ask? If you have read other pieces in this blog, you may have noted that we are big believers in the use of beneficial insects. We are fortunate to be near the home of Associates Insectary of Santa Paula. (Trivia: Petty Ranch’s history with them goes back to the 1930’s, and either my father or I have been on the Board of Directors since 1986.) Producing “good bugs” is a specialized process that I won’t detail here, but essentially it involves raising “bad bugs” to feed the good bugs. And since you can’t find “bad bug chow” at the grocery store, the Insectary must raise plants for them to eat, before they are eaten themselves.
A by-product of this process is “used” potting soil… often with a few surviving potatoes included. We add this soil to our orchard to help amend our soil, but this year in particular, we’ve gotten quite a nice little crop of spuds in the fig orchard out of the deal.
In the spirit of “whole farm eating“, rather than let these potatoes go to waste, we will be providing them to Chef Rachel Holst of Main Course CA to include in her Outstanding in the Field Dinner in June. I’ve boiled and roasted a few of these little guys, and if they are that tasty for me, I can’t wait to see what Rachel can do with them!