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Potato Planting Palooza and Market Bonanza

Now is a favorite time of the growing season — we are planting summer. In go the tomato and pepper starts. In go the eggplant and cauliflower and tomatillos. And this year, in go the potatoes.

We are so happy to have potatoes back. They are awfully pretty!
We are so happy to have potatoes back. They are awfully pretty!

We grew potatoes a number of years ago, and then stopped. We wanted to focus on other edible things. But we missed potatoes, with their kaleidoscopic range of varieties, colors, shapes and flavors. Such diversity in the humble potato! So this week with the help of a crackerjack team from the Escoffier Culinary School in Boulder, we went through heavy sacks of seed potatoes (which are simply potatoes that meet conditions that make them proper for planting) and prepped them for planting. The process is simple — you cut potatoes into chunks that contain “eyes.” These chunks are then planted. And each chunk of potato produces as much as 10 pounds of potatoes at harvest. This is pleasing mathematics.

Tomatoes and peppers — we are planting summer.
Tomatoes and peppers — we are planting summer.

We also began planting tomatoes and peppers this week. We will fuss over these plants for most of the summer, removing pests and yanking weeds and making sure to always slake their thirst, before we start plucking fruit — first tomatoes, beginning in July and lasting until the first frost. Peppers take longer to ripen — we likely won’t have any until sometime in August. And this year, we are planting a bounty of shishito peppers.

Speaking of bounty, here is what you will find at the Boulder Farmers’ Market tomorrow, and in the restaurants.

  • Cardoons
  • Rocket arugula
  • Wild arugula
  • Lettuce mix
  • Tom Thumb
  • Tat soi
  • Mizuna
  • Sorrel
  • Kale
  • Osaka purple
  • Purple tat soi
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Mustard mix
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Fava bean tops
  • Pea tendrils
  • Arugula flowers
  • Radish flowers
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Magnet turnips
  • Spring onions
  • Chrysanthemum greens
  • Cherry Belle radishes
  • Hailstone radishes
  • Pork chile
  • head cheese
  • Love and pale ale sausage
  • Chorizo
  • Farro
  • Polenta
  • Cracked wheat
  • Whole grain flour

And now, for one of the many stand-outs at the market. Arugula flowers! If you like arugula, you will love these — arugula distilled in a blossom.

Arugula flowers are spectacular garnishes, or additions to things like salads and even stirfrys.
Arugula flowers are spectacular garnishes, or additions to things like salads and even stirfrys.