Deceptively humble, the potato has a long history dating back almost 8,000 years. Over that time, the potatoes that we see in supermarkets have been reduced to a mere handful of varieties. Recognising that the way we produce potatoes today does not reflect the plant’s illustrious past, Lucy and Anthony Carroll set out on a mission to re-introduce the British palate to some of the unique varieties that have been lost over time.
Lucy, Anthony and their team grow around 14 heritage varieties on Tiptoe Farm in Northumberland. Their main focus is to grow potatoes with unique taste and texture qualities, rarely seen in your average spud. They are also deeply passionate about the environment and farm in the most sustainable way possible. This includes supporting the local ecology by leaving a 6 metre strip of grass in each field, which is planted with herbs and flower mixtures to encourage bees and birds.
This care for both the environment and their crops is truly reflected in the quality of Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes.
Spud’s Up: cooking with heritage potatoes
The Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes’ website provides all kinds of information including tasting notes. Here’s what they have to say about the potatoes available to you here at 4DegreesC.
Violetta – The Violetta’s blue skin and blue flesh makes it a particularly striking variety. Saute, boil, roast, bake or crush and leave the skin on to retain the colour.
Shetland Black 1923 – Although its exact origins are unknown, the purple skin of the Shetland Black suggests it dates back to Victorian times when colourful varieties were most popular. Light and floury, the Shetland Black is best cooked in its skin.
Yukon Gold 1980 – Originally from Canada, Yukon Golds make the best baked potatoes.
Pink Fir Apple – First imported from France in the 1850s, distinctively long and knobbly Pink Fir Apples are delicious hot or cold. Boil them whole or slice before sautéing.
Red Duke of York 1942 – The Red Duke of York produces a really crispy skin when baked or roasted. Great for chips!