potato variety performance

Now we are well into March we are approaching the end of the stored UK crop of potatoes. We don't want to push the crop too far as the potatoes inevitably will get to a point where they start to soften and sprout as they make a last bid to regenerate.

Our plans for the domestic crop should take us through to late April/early May. The Romano (red variety) that has been in the boxes for the last few weeks will make way for Milva - a white, waxy potato. It is best suited to being boiled in its skin. We will then move on from the Milva to a mixture of Cosmos and Saxon. The Cosmos is good for boiling and baking. The small volume we have, was grown on a farm on Ancaster Heath in Lincolnshire, on a limestone soil. The limestone in the soil typically gives the potatoes excellent cooking and keeping qualities. The Saxon is not a common variety grown on organic farms but it is about as versatile as they come. You can mash it, roast it, boil it, chip it - you name it and you can probably do it with Saxon.

As we head for the end of the stored crop there will be a real treat in store with a week or so of Orla. Orla has become a more popular variety on organic farms in recent years due its great taste combined with its resistance to potato blight. Finally, if the crop is still good quality, we will finish on the Romano again as the high starch content in this red variety helps it store for the longest. The Romano have a nutty flavour and make a lovely white, fluffy mash and excellent roast potatoes.

After this we will need to move on to imported potatoes until the middle of June before the first fluffy- skinned new potatoes are lifted at River Nene Organic Farm. The first new variety to make its way into the boxes will be Colleen.

Rob Haward