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Ted Hall
 
September 24, 2009 | Gardens | Ted Hall

Potatoes


We harvested 10 tons of our own potatoes this week.

The potatoes were grown on our "dairy" property in Tomales, California, known as Tomales Farm & Dairy (about 35 miles from LMR on the California coast).  Can you imagine burgers and fries from the same farm?  We are producing beef and potatoes from the same ground.  True terroir.

One of my favorite memories from 1992 is vice presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle telling a sixth grader that the proper spelling of potato had an "e" on the end (i.e., "potatoe").  How embarrassing!  The spelling of this wonderfully nutritious tuber may have
determined the outcome of a presidential election. Seventeen years later potatoes are helping provide an authentic foundation for our farm-to-table food proposition.

As you may recall, we own a 500-acre former dairy farm in Tomales, California, where we raise grass for our grass-finished Shorthorn beef cattle. Tomales was renowned about 120 years ago for its production of potatoes (properly spelled with an "e", if plural).  The intensive potato farming contributed to significant erosion of the area's extraordinary topsoils and the industry went into sharp decline. But, a few locations still have the historically ideal conditions - including our property. 

This week we harvested almost 10 tons of potatoes from about two acres that we carved out of our lush pasture lands.  We collaborated with a local "share cropper" farmer and together we established a new organic field of potatoes.  We split the crop in return for his labor and expertise  So, we now have 5 tons of fabulous potatoes ready to be served at our new Farmstead Restaurant.  

We harvested two varieties: Russets and German Butterballs.  The Russets will make amazing french fries ("pommes frites") and the Butterballs will be terrific as a side dish either boiled, baked, or sauteed.  Chef Sheamus Feeley is already exploring how we will present these extraordinary home-grown potatoes at the Farmstead Restaurant.  For sure we will pair our fries and beef produced from the same ground.  Where else can you have this experience?  

Posted by Ted Hall

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