When it comes down to it, there is one reason above all others that fuels my desire to grow spuds.
Sure, the rewards of growing your own are many. In the rough and jumble of my own little back garden, I can cultivate varieties that I would rarely, if ever, find in the shops. That means that I get to eat tasty little Shetland Blacks like these, roasted in their skins, and you won’t find me complaining about that.
And there are many points scored for general got-it-from-my-own-garden satisfaction. In fact, I could be all smug and crow about the positive dearth of food miles involved in my recent dinners but, nah, I really don’t care to. Besides, I might be accused of yet more braggery by Greg and if there’s one reason that I grow spuds, that is most definitely not it.
No, the real reason that I grow potatoes is for the singular pleasure of being able to present them to my parents. Now that my folks are at that late stage in life where the physical effort required in tending to spuds and much else out of doors is deemed too much, it’s the least that I can do, after a lifetime of being fed from their garden, to return the favour. And, frankly, I do not know for how many more summers I will have this privilege left to me.
For there is a very particular satisfaction in handing over freshly dug spuds to my Da. He who has never had much truck with rice or pasta. He for whom a dinner is not a dinner without spuds and lots of them. He who puts me in the ha’penny place when it comes to potato lore. In fact, my chief regret in having lost all three of my prized rare potato seeds to the slugs was that I was not able to provide my Da with some Champions, an older Irish variety of which he speaks with reverence.
Still, to make up for that, I will be more than happy to hand over to my folks a goodly haul of Duke of Yorks. These beauties bucked the low yield trend, producing potatoes of decent size and more than decent taste. They have even produced another heart-shaped mascot and it doesn’t get much better than that.
So today, I bring my heart-shaped bounty home. It is, as I say, the least I could do.