Monday, 29 September 2008

Getting back to my roots

Listening to: Bullets (Tunng)
Weather: wet, bright, wet, breezy, wet
Pig weigh-in: Johnny Ramone 113lbs

There's a lot of talk about superfoods these days with scientists or magazine editors discovering every five minutes some magic fruit or tree bark that will make us all live to a ripe and miserable old age.

It will come as little surprise that the pig "farmer" has little truck with goji berries and spirulana, even if he knew what they were. We've got our own superfood here on the croft a few inches under the soil and in increasing numbers in sacks in the barn.

Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for that hero among foods. . . .

(long unnecessary and irritating pause just like when they announce results for TV gameshows)

. . . THE POTATO.



It's not only because I have an Irish mammy* that I love the spud or tattie, as I'm learning to call it. There's something for everyone from the finest chefs to the pisshead stumbling home balancing a bag of chips in one hand and a can of Special Brew in the other.

Fair enough, some of the veg patch competitors may have the edge in looks. . .



or. . .


. . . but when it comes to veg, I'll be dating the plain bird every time.

And if you're talking about superfoods, what could be more super than a food that has been a staple in Europe for the best part of 500 years? Yeah, wheat, I grant you, but you get what I'm driving at.

I don't recall any time in history where thousands, or millions even, died as a result of a failure of the blueberry crop - or because of a shortage of pork, for that matter, although I understand the Great Scratchings Shortage of 1867 caused a few worried moments in Dudley.

My veg growing has been largely experimental this year, getting used to the difference of weather, light, soil between Shropshire and Orkney, but I put in almost 300m of potatoes, planting five different varieties so we have spuds for salad, boiling, mashing and so on.

Next year I'll plough up an acre and a half and the temptation is to put it all to spuds, but we all know where reliance on one crop gets us.

"Patrick, the potato crop has failed and the bastard English have sold all Ireland's grain supplies so we have nothing to feed the children."

"Ah feck**, Liam, didn't I tell you to plant some butternut squash and pak-choi and introduce a rotation system. Now there's no choice but to go to America."


(I can't believe I just made light of the Famine - that's me off Gerry Adams' Christmas card list.)

Anyway, potatoes are great, but you know that already.

* Actually it's hard to imagine anyone less like an Irish mammy than my mum, but she's a mammy and she's from Dublin, so there.

** Nobody in the 1840s would have used 'feck' like that. It used to be a slang word for steal or even throw - Dermot Morgan has a lot to answer for.

9 comments:

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

I didn't know that feck used to mean throw -- that would explain how we get usages like, "Just f*ck the frozen pizza in the deep fryer..."

:)

Dave said...

Mmmm... potatoes.

Lindsay said...

Your veg patch (or field) looks very productive. Ours is too small for many potatoes . . . . but our carrots have been marvellous this year along with onions and beetroot.

PS: I know you do not not girlie awards, but I awarded you one (more manly) a short time ago. Just love your humour.

Richard said...

Runner beans. Or is too cold up there?

Actually the squash thing isn't a bad idea. My Dad grows them and they make a cracking soup.

Ginni Dee said...

Your veggies are beautiful! Your farming abilities get more impressive every day!

Well done Mr and Mrs Pig Farmer!

I, like the view said...

New Scientist had a very interesting article about potatoes (the food of the gods, as far as I'm concerned) a few weeks ago

if I can find it, I'll send it

(did you ever get my postcard btw?)

Malc said...

Jessica

Is that the pizza you fecked from Tescos?

Dave

By George, I think he's got it!

Lindsay

If you haven't much space, plant a few of one of those varieties that the supermarket bandits charge the Earth for.
And thanks for the award - I'm blushing.

Richard

Too windy. Sal's squash soup is terrific.

Ginni

Actually, veg is the one thing I knew about when we moved here- the carrots are good though, aren't they?

ILTV

I'll look forward to that.

And yes we did - thank you. Made a nice change from bank statements and other junk.

Mig said...

Pigs and potatoes are good for the soil I've been told so the marvellous veg shouldn't come as a surprise.
Those turnips are particularly delicious looking.

Arcadian Advocate said...

We love veggies too, but this year our spuds have the dreaded blight... so we are learning about Beaumont periods.. for next year but Jethro will probably want to consider spraying. last year was fine, and we do a 4 crop rotation.
We manage to be as organic as possible in the veg garden, except for the brassicas which have to be treated once for dreaded pesties (cabbage whites etc)or we would have none at all.
Will try to post pics of our veg on my blog soon, camera probs... lost the leads and charger.. how stupid is that.
http://arcadianadvocate.wordpress.com