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Article

The Best-Tasting Potatoes, Organically Grown

Fine Cooking Issue 67
Photos: Amy Albert
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Joan and John Janiszewski can barely keep up with the demand for the organic potatoes from their farm in upstate New York, part of Catskill Family Farms, a small grower’s cooperative in New York State’s Catskill Mountains.  

The potatoes, sold to restaurants and at local farmers’ markets and greenmarkets, are prized for their thin skin, creamy texture, and concentrated flavor. French fingerlings (the family’s favorite) are good in any dish, but especially hash browns and home fries, while Austrian Crescents are particularly tasty roasted or grilled, they say. Purple Peruvian fingerlings are a striking and delicious way to dress up a potato salad, while Yukon Golds are great mashers.  

Growing potatoes without herbicides or pesticides is hard work: Managing weeds through cultivation is time-consuming, avoiding blight means planting earlier than usual and rotating crops more often, and constant vigilance is required to keep potato beetles at bay. So why go through the hardship? “Putting toxins in the land scares the hell out of me,” says John Janiszewski. “It’s worth the extra work.”

“Soil nutrients, elevation…there’s an intangible something that makes potatoes grown in the Catskill Mountains taste so good,” say the Janiszewskis.
At harvest time, Joan and John Janiszewski enlist their kids, Neal, Anna, and Stefan, to help dig potatoes.

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