The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Tag: Hans Wieland (page 1 of 2)

Spudless Sunday

Those who have read this blog over the years will know that I have written about the Dave Langford/Dermot Carey heritage potato collection many times.

Their 225+ varieties of potato, including many rare, old varieties of Irish interest which, for many years, they have displayed and spoken about at events countrywide, have made for a wonderful educational resource, a living history and an important part of our food heritage.

This past weekend I learned of an incredibly severe blow to the collection, a too-harsh lesson in the fragility of preserving old and rare varieties and of not better supporting the people who do that important work for us. While all is not entirely lost, there is much that is, and a challenge has been set for those who really believe that such things are worth preserving.

For the past six years, mid-March has been writ large in my calendar. Not, as you might imagine, because of St. Patrick’s Day in all of its greenery but rather, because it is at or around this time of year that the Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim, hosts its annual Potato Day.

Potato Day Sign

It’s an event presided over by Hans Wieland, and a time for people to stock up on seeds for the coming season, to get advice from expert growers, and to hear talks on subjects of interest to the gardener of potatoes, be it on the importance of soil (the subject of an excellent presentation given this year by Trevor Sargent) or on GM or blight resistant spuds, or even a spin through the latest in spud developments from around the world (which was my contribution to this year’s event).

And ever-present, every year, has been a diverse display of potatoes – the rare, old and unusual spud collection that has been amassed, maintained and nurtured over a great many years by Dave Langford, and ably assisted in that task for the past 8 or 9 years by master vegetable grower Dermot Carey.

potato display

From my first Potato Day excursion in 2009:
what was to become the familiar sight of varieties from the Langford/Carey collection on display

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Spud Sunday: Potato Day Rides Again

Potatoes in the polytunnel

Container planting of potatoes underway in the polytunnels at the Organic Centre

March is here and that can mean one thing, and one thing only to a spud: that it’s time, once again, for the Organic Centre’s annual Potato Day. Time to meet my buddy Dave Langford and his rare, old and unusual potatoes, time to top up the ol’ seed potato stocks in advance of planting and, this year, having spent the past three years as a more-than-interested observer at the event, time for me to stand up and speak.

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Spud Sunday: Potatoes, The Next Generation

Potato sacks

Sacks o' seed potatoes

“Happy Potato Day!” my cohorts chimed as I emerged this morning.

“And a Happy Potato Day to you too,” said I, wondering just how long it would be before Hallmark spotted what was a clear gap in the greeting card market.

Myself and my partners in spuds were all set for the pilgrimage to the 12th annual Potato Day at the Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co. Leitrim. Talk about dedication to the cause – this would, in fact, be my second potato day outing within the space of a week.

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