When you envision large Idaho potatoes, incorporating four potatoes into one person’s meal is way too much eating. But, when you look at delectably small potatoes, those bursting with flavor (and nutrition!), then this proverb makes perfect sense. Here is some insight into potato sizes – and the benefits of using small potatoes in your culinary dishes.
“Back in the day,” Farmer Lee Jones remembers, “farmers didn’t even bother to pick the small potatoes, because they weren’t worth the trouble. At The Chef’s Garden, though, we take the opposite approach, sorting out the large ones and sending them to the food bank.”
Potatoes sold at grocery stores are typically:
size A potatoes (2.5 inches in diameter)
size B potatoes (1.5 to 2.25 inches in diameter)
size C potatoes (less than 1.5 inches in diameter); we’ve seen C-sized potatoes described as the smallest ones available
“Well,” Lee says, “C-sized potatoes definitely are smaller than those sized A and B, but we offer small and delicious potatoes that are sized D, E and F – as well as G and H. We plant our potatoes closely together, cramping them because we’re striving for small, flavor-packed potatoes. We harvest them early, when they are delicate and delicious, when they make a great presentation on the plate.”
D 1 ¼” – 1 ½”
E 1” – 1”
F ¾” - 1”
G ½” – ¾”
H ¼” – ½”
This video shows how the team at The Chef’s Garden uses a 1952 John Deere potato planter, slightly modified, to plant potatoes. This equipment is chosen for its gentle handling and ability to space the potatoes just right in the soil, an ideal method to prevent unwanted soil compaction during planting. Watch as potatoes from the previous fall season, saved for seed, are planted into rich loam soil.
Rather than choosing to plant varieties of potatoes that will yield tons per acre, potatoes from The Chef’s Garden are chosen for their premier flavor and nutrition, and Farmer Lee encourages people to eat them with the skin (the most nutritious part of the potato!) still on. Besides adding a punch of flavor and nutrition, the range of colors available in potato skins create an attractive presentation on the plate.
In the video, you can also see how gently potatoes are harvested at The Chef’s Garden, using an heirloom Hoover potato digger. That way, they don’t get bruised or skinned.
Although hand harvesting is labor intensive, the result for our small potatoes is worth the effort. “These morsels are tender and tiny,” Lee says, “potatoes you don’t have to peel. They create a fun, unique, tantalizing and flavorful presentation, ideal because we eat with our eyes first.”
“We’re always excited to discover how chefs use our bite-sized potatoes in their creative culinary dishes,” Lee adds, “and love it when chefs share pictures of their masterpieces with us!”
Here are varieties of potatoes and sweet potatoes.