For those attentive souls who have noticed some longer than usual absences in Spud Sunday reporting of late, let me just say that housing – and, to be specific, the buying, the moving and the shortly-to-commence renovating of a new Daily Spud abode – is playing havoc with my attention to all things tuber.
Still, with the approach of spud planting season, there are a few items worthy of some attention:
Firstly – and following my brief appearance on RTÉ’s recently aired episode of Gliondar, which followed the fortunes of participants in West Kerry’s Spud-Off Mór – it came to my attention that the event in question is not, in fact, the only Spud-Off in town.
I was contacted last week by Nick Moyle, one of the gents behind Two Thirsty Gardeners – a UK-based gardening and home brewing website – about none other than their Great British Spud Off (which I shall hereafter call the GBSO, just because I can).
Theirs is a different take on going spud-to-spud. Whereas the Spud-Off Mór was about comparing spuds on the basis of taste and texture, the GBSO rates the size of your yield from a single spud. To be more specific, take one container of your choice, one seed potato – of a variety of your choosing – and add whatever soil or compost you prefer. The winner will be the person who produces the heaviest haul and will bask in the glory of being the 2014 Spud Off champ. Simple as that.
Now, despite what the ‘Great British’ tag might lead you to believe, Nick and Rich – the aforementioned two thirsty gardeners – would love to see Spud Off entries from Ireland (or from any other country in the world, for that matter). Enough outside interest and you never know, they might have to rethink the name of the competition. Suffice to say that if you fancy a bit of a spud growing challenge – and a bit of fun – you should check out the details over here.
As if that weren’t enough to get you thinking about getting your spuds into the ground and on their way, the annual potato pilgrimage to Leitrim fast approaches.
This coming Saturday, March 15th, from 11am-5pm, sees this year’s edition of Potato Day at the Organic Centre in Rossinver. It’s an event that’s been on the go since 1996 (and, as such, lays claim to being Ireland’s longest running Potato Day). It will also, on Saturday, be five years to the day since I first adventured up to Potato Day, with nary a backward glance since. I will, of course, make the trip again this year. I could hardly not.
Amongst the other spud heads in attendance will be guest speaker Dr. David Shaw from the Sárvári Research Trust in Wales – expert on all things blight – along with the usual lazy bed demonstrations and seeds aplenty to buy (new amongst the potato varieties on sale will be two blight busters from the Sárvári Research Trust – early main crop Bionica and late main crop Sarpo Axona – as well as Golden Wonder (my tops for roasties) and red-skinned – as opposed to red-nosed – Rudolph). The menu at the Grass Roof Café promises to run the gamut from boxty to bhaji. I’m getting hungry already.