"New" Potatoes - A Taste of the County
Guest Blogger: Patricia Sutherland
There are many food seasons for foodies to enjoy in the county! Fiddleheads, local strawberries, fresh peas, beet greens…YUM!
But the very best of all, and you are welcome to come to Aroostook and join us – new potatoes!
All along Route 1 and other roads as you drive throughout the county, you will see simple farm stands with the (usually) hand painted sign saying “new potatoes”. These kiosks are typically on the honor system. You simply put your money into the container and grab a bag.
Aroostook families so enjoy these “new” potatoes and eagerly seek them out in early July. New potatoes are available from mid-July into October, from round whites and reds earlier, followed by russet varieties a little later.
Typically new potatoes come in five pound bags priced at about $5 for really early potatoes and generally go down to $4 - $3 as the season goes on. Grocery stores also will carry them as they become more available, as will farmers’ markets, but the roadside stands are traditional. Personally, and I’m sure there are others like me, I don't care what that first bag costs…I am so craving those early potatoes!
So what is a “new potato” and what do you do with it? You love it!
New potatoes carefully dug from Aroostook’s fertile soils have an earthy goodness. They are small, the beginnings of our famous potato crop, and can be even smaller than an egg. The earliest ones will be the smallest and will increase in size as the season goes on.
The great thing about new potatoes is not only the size but the freshness of their taste. The skin of the new potato is barely there, so no need to peel. Just a mere hand washing will remove any dirt from the potato. Simply boiled are the best. Then smash them a little, add butter and savor. The flavor is as delicate as the skin. A traditional preparation in the county is to boil new potatoes with either fresh garden peas or green beans and serve the potatoes and your green vegetable with butter and cream. Yum O!! Truly one of the highlights of the summer!
So take a drive to the county, stop at one of our “new potatoes” stands, pick up a bag of potatoes and give yourself a treat of new potatoes from the county! I guarantee you will be back for more!
** Frugal farmers sometimes purchase bags and potato sacks from various suppliers, so even if the bag says it is from somewhere else, please rest assured that your roadside stand "new" potatoes are still locally grown.