For some reason, I picture David Shaw, the energy behind the Welsh-based Sárvári Trust, in the beret-topped garb of a WW2 resistance fighter. In David’s case, however, the enemy (and one of Goliath proportions at that) is potato blight and his weapons of choice are the Sárpo line of potatoes, bred to have high levels of natural blight resistance.
Needless to remark, David was not actually beret-clad when I met him at last week’s SPUDS.ie Tastefest (though I daresay a beret would have suited him). What he did display, though, was a resistance fighter’s spirit and determination in the face of battle on two fronts, with the ever-adapting scourge of potato blight on the one hand and the struggle to keep the Sárvári Trust funded on the other. He was eager to hear about people’s experiences with Sárpo potatoes and to share his expansive knowledge of potato blight – amassed during some 40 years of study – with all who were willing to listen.
David Shaw of the Sárvári Reseach Trust: a bona fide blight resistance fighter
My Da never had much truck with Father’s Day.
And yet I wish, as this year’s Father’s Day rolls around – and as I have wished every day for the past two months – that he were here, even if all he were to do was give out, in his characteristically forthright way, about what is, after all, a makey-uppy date on the Hallmark calendar.
I’ll mark the day by having my first taste of those spuds, planted in the greenhouse by neighbour John’O, and whose progress the Da had keenly followed. They’ll be enjoyed in the best way possible – steamed, served with butter and salt, and eaten with family – which is just how he liked them.
A sign helpfully added to the greenhouse by my niece Emma,
alerting all and sundry (including the Da above) to the fact that
these are, in fact, our neighbour's spuds,
he being the affectionately named Big John Wire
There is something undeniably cheery about seeing your very own tomatoes ripening on the vine.
Cherry tomato, variety 'Koralik'