Elusive 1st Earlies

I’ve been searching for a truly tasty 1st early potato since I’ve had the allotment.

Last year we came closest with Red Duke of York. I’ve tried Lady Crystl and after having read rave reviews gave them a go, only to be massively disappointed. No real flavour at all. And having to wait for another year to try and find what I’m searching for is gardening’s harsh way!

Having read up a bit more, I now understand that potatoes have a different flavour depending on what part of the country you are in, or what your soil is, if you add seaweed (like in the Shetland Isles). One thought has been to try some French varieties. So I’ve sourced some, but they are classed as 2nds or salads for later in the season

This years 1st earlies are Red Duke of York, we grew them last year and liked them. Small red skinned potatoes with a creamy yellow flesh. I bought them from Alan Roman’s – here’s what he has to say: –

“This was first found in a Dutch crop of Duke of York (Eersteling). It has deep red skin colour, it is more vigorous than white Dukes and has spectacular foliage with blue “centres”. With great flavour and large tubers this is one of the few heritage varieties to gain a little modern commercial success – Waitrose summer bakers + Marks & Spencer heritage crisps. The one variety I would have to chose for the proverbial desert island.”

A desert island potato eh?!

We are also trying Sharpes Express, also from Alan Roman’s: –

” This pear-shaped garden classic was produced by Charles Sharpe of Sleaford. He was a major miller, merchant and seedsman in the town and may not have been personally responsible for his company’s varieties. Express has high dry matter, very good flavour and cooks well although boiling requires care. It was TV gardener, Percy Thrower’s favourite. Several of Scotland’s leading growers traditionally certify a small patch to keep the variety going for their own family use.”

lets hope the Sharpes have a good flavour.

So a row of each of the 1st earlies were planted up on the plot on the 15th March

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