Valley Bounty: Potatoes

We use the expression “meat and potatoes” to describe something basic, uninspired, a bit bland—something that meets the minimum expectations but isn’t worth getting excited about. It’s the stereotypical meal of the unadventurous eater. But does that really reflect the way we feel in our hearts (and stomachs) about the humble potato? If you’re anything like me, then honestly, you’re excited every time you see potatoes on your plate. Potatoes are also much more nutritious than their reputation implies—they’re rich in iron and vitamins C and B6, and a serving of potato has more potassium than a banana. Search your feelings, you know it to be true: potatoes have far more to offer than, well, “meat and potatoes.”

Local potatoes are delicious and easy to find all through the winter at farmers’ markets, local retailers, or in a winter farm share. Local potatoes have such a rich flavor compared with others that I usually keep the preparation fairly simple: dice the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, toss in salt, pepper, and olive oil, and bake at 425°F until crispy (usually about 30 minutes). If I’m feeling like spicing things up a bit, I find a dash each of chili powder and paprika adds a nice element without overshadowing the potato itself.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)