Farm life: potato planter edition
This is an old potato. Which you plant to make new potatoes…each potato can grow into 5-6 of its size, and you only have to plant part of it. Each eye will root, so you can cut it into 3 or 4 chunks. I happened to work on a day PVF was using a new potato-planting tractor attachment, and got to ride on the back!
All the potato planter has to do is place piece of potato into each slot on the circle and, they’re dropped one by one into the trench the wheel digs. Those two big silver plates on the left cover each up with a neat pile of dirt. As the season goes, they’ll go back out and plow more and more dirt over to disrupt the weeds and give the potatoes the cozy earth they like.
The continuously moving grid isn’t too hard to keep up with – this sure beats planting them all by hand! We finished about an acre in a few hours.
The Peruvian causa
I was recently introduced to causa, a layered Peruvian potato salad. Traditionally served with shrimp or seafood salad, since the fishermen of Peru would go out for the day with mashed potatoes and then have them with their fresh catch. My version has a salad with greens, spring peas, and diced red pepper, since I was making a vegan version (shrimp optional!) for the Watercolor + Self Care event I did with Marcella Kriebel and Gracy Obuchowicz last weekend. And I used both white and sweet potatoes…so it’s not very traditional, but then again I’m not very Peruvian, so go figure!
- 1.5 lbs white potatoes, chopped and boiled until soft
- 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, chopped and boiled until soft
- 3 lime’s juice
- 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup peas (defrosted from frozen work if fresh aren’t available)
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 Tbsp amarillo paste
- 1 cup mixed greens, roughly chopped
- Avocado, sliced
- Shrimp, cooked (optional)
Mash the potatoes separately (I leave the skins on for extra fiber!) and add the juice of 1 lime and 2 Tbsp olive oil to each. Add the chives to the white potatoes and the amarillo paste to the sweet potatoes (I use a hand mixer to blend). In a greased springform pan, layer the white mashed potatoes, pressing until even with the back of a spatula, then toss the salad greens with the peas and pepper and the juice of the last lime. Spread on top of the white potatoes, then top with the sweet potatoes and spread with a spatula. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight. Top with avocado slices and shrimp when ready to serve, and remove the spring form from the base. Present with a flourish!