Wednesday 21 August 2013

Vive les spuds! National Potato Day 23rd of August 2013

I may be French but I've been here long enough to know how the Irish love their spuds! Mr. FFID is Irish and I think he loves potatoes more than me sometimes, especially mash.

Next week, Friday 23rd of August is National Potato Day, yes you heard right, there is a special day of celebration for this important food staple, organised by Bord Bia in conjunction with the Irish Potato Federation and the Irish Farmers Association.

I love the idea and when I saw Bord Bia was organising a day out to celebrate National Potato Day a little early, I couldn't possibly miss it.

We started the day with a visit of Brady's farm in Kilcoole Co. Wicklow where the sun was shining and the view of the Sugar loaf was just beautiful.

John Brady told us how it all began when his grandfather won 100 pounds at a raffle and bought some crops to start with. He and his brother John showed us the machines they use and also gave us a visit of the farm. They specialise in new season potatoes and cultivate Home guards, Premieres and Queens on their 140 acres of land. 

In the retail world, new potatoes have to compete against the roosters which many Irish people tend to buy automatically. Unlike the roosters, new season potatoes can't be washed because of the skin finish and unfortunately consumers are sometimes put off by the dirt on them, which is an issue for potato producers. During our visit we saw how some potatoes (pictured above) were rejected following aesthetic criteria dictated by the retail industry.  Customers wouldn't want to buy 'ugly' potatoes if they saw them on a shelf. The Bradys gave us a great insight into the world of potato farming.

Some of the challenges are to educate consumers in seasonality and to encourage them to buy local, supporting Irish jobs.

After the potato farm visit we headed to Ballyknocken House and Cookery School for a potato masterclass with Catherine Fulvio. She was so welcoming and enthusiastic, I loved her energy. She showed us how to make a potato, caramelised onion and thyme tart before showing us her fantastic herb garden.

Then we all got to cook Catherine Fulvio's recipes created especially for National Potato Day 2013, they show how versatile spuds are as an ingredient and you can find them here.  

After all the cooking we sat at a long table together and got to enjoy the dishes we made,  it was such a nice way to end our day dedicated to Irish spuds.

So, how do you like your spuds? Will you be celebrating National Potato Day?

If you're interested in everything potato related you should check out and the events' listing for next Friday.

For more information about seasonality visit this website and for Irish food in general have a look at Bord Bia's website.

Disclaimer: I  attended this event free of charge.  I gave no undertaking to write a review and the words above are, as always, my honest opinion. I  love spuds and I believe many of my readers do too!