Farming Matters: Pick the right spud for the job

Farmer Guy Bond
Farmer Guy Bond

Potatoes are a staple ingredient of many enjoyable meals. But to avoid lumpy mash or baked spuds with flimsy jackets it’s important to select the right variety for each job.

So with such a versatile vegetable how can you find out which variety to use for the best baked, roast, mashed, boiled or chipped potato?

Ask a farmer, of course.

And the potato expert here in the Vale is Guy Bond from Manor Farm in Whitchurch who first imparted his wisdom to me when we were both members of the Young Farmers federation many years ago.

Today he tells me the humble potato is the number one vegetable in the country and has much more goodness than rice and pasta.

There is more vitamin C in a potato than an apple and as most of the goodness is found in the skin, he says we should really try not to peel them.

Guy said: “Basically potatoes are either waxy or floury.

“Floury types are good for roast and chips like Maris Piper & Cabaret. These tend to soak up gravy.

“Whereas waxy varieties remain more solid and better for boiling like Charlotte and Desiree.”

A good all rounder is something like Estima.

Guy said: “There are over 500 different varieties out there of which everyone seems to have a favourite.

“But obviously the best ones are grown in Whitchurch, as we do not irrigate or wash our potatoes, so they are drier and have more flavour.

“As they still have soil on, they keep much better and do not go green if left covered in their paper bag.”