Friday, January 14, 2011

Another press release

Here is the news release about this years event...

Saturday 5th February 2011 is the date for your diary. We will be in the middle of Merrywalks Shopping Centre from about 9.00am to 2.30pm selling over half a tonne of seed potatoes - over 20 varieties supplied by Dundry Nurseries (see link below in right hand column).


GROW POTATOES: Come and buy seed potatoes at our stall in the Merrywalks Shopping Centre.
COOK POTATOES: Over Farm and Newark farm in the Farmers Market have interesting varieties to buy to cook yourself.
READ POTATOES: Our  Potato Recipe Book 'Pan-Fried, Peeled and Proud - Potatoes from Stroud', is in it's second print and will be available for sale at the stall for £4 (£3 stroud pounds).
EAT POTATOES: Participating restaurants on the day include Woodruffs, Star Anise, J Rools and Mills who will all be celebrating with a particular potato recipe to try.

Philip Booth, organiser of the Stroud Potato celebrations said: "Grow, Cook, Read and Eat potatoes. Stroud Potato Day is a celebration of all things potato but the big hope is that folk who have never grown veg at all will give a spud a go and those that have will try some different varieties. We have half a tonne of seed potatoes that we will be selling from a stall in Merrywalks cheaper than many other outlets."

Stroud Potato Day is a Transition Stroud project with all proceeds going to low carbon projects in Stroud. Many volunteers are making the day possible including some adults with a learning disability from a local day service, Randwick Village Hall for tables and Dundry Nurseries for supplying the seed potatoes to make the day possible. See more on this blogsite. See background to day here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Press release goes out re the big day! Restaurant and market join celebrations

Here's our press release that went out earlier this week....

Transition Stroud members are organising the first ever National Potato Day in Stroud on Saturday 5th February 2011 (i).

Philip Booth, organiser of the Stroud Potato celebrations said: "We will be selling half a tonne of seed potatoes from a stall in Merrywalks to encourage more people to grow their own and learn about the many different varieties of potatoes. There is also an issue of food security that we will be hearing more about as oil prices climb and harvests suffer from the changing climate. 40% of the food we eat is imported: if more people grow their own then we can be less reliant on food imports from other countries."

Philip Booth said: "There are over 450 potato varieties grown in this country with supermarkets offering very little choice. In addition to our stall in Merrywalks on 5th Feb in Stroud Market both Newark and Over Farm will have some different varieties to try (ii) and Woodruffs, J Rools and Mills will all be celebrating the day with a particular potato recipe to try. Our Potato recipe book 'Pan-Fried, Peeled and Proud - Potatoes from Stroud', was launched before Christmas. The book is selling so well that it is now in it's second print and can be bought at the local bookshop, SVP, the Town Council, Made in Stroud, and will be available for sale at the stall for £4 (£3 stroud pounds) (iii)."

Philip Booth added: "It has been wonderful that so many people have given time and energy to make this day happen, especially Dundry Nurseries for their support in supplying the seed potatoes (iv). "

Stroud Potato Day has a website with details of the event and more at:


(i) Transition Stroud that seeks ways to respond to the twin challenges of Climate Change and oil becoming increasingly difficult to extract. To find out more about Transition Stroud go to:

(ii) Over Farm will have; Wilja, Nadine and Desiree, Newark farm has Cara, Desiree, Javelin, Belle de Fonteney, and Ratte Charlotte.

(iii) The book is a Transition Stroud initiative and is edited by the aptly named Maris Piper and Desirée de Romano. Desirée said: "Bringing the different elements of the book together has been a joy. Stroud provided suitably gifted people just when they were needed; Dennis Gould stepped forward to do the cover, photographer Fred Chance heroically offered to do the design and layout, poet and artist Jeff Cloves (AKA Edward Rex) was inspired to write a Potato Pie Poem and to create the beautiful illustrations that bring the book to life. The recipes have all come from local people, some professional cooks and some who are experts at creating delicious meals for their friends and family. Woodruffs, J Rool, Mill's Cafe and Guisseppe of Guisseppe's gourmet restaurant all shared their own favourite potato recipes. We even have a recipe from Matthew Fort, food writer in the Guardian and potato fan. It really has been a collaborative effort that has shown the generosity and enthusiasm of the people of the Stroud Valleys. Thanks go to all of them as well as to Stroud Valleys Eco Shop on Threadneedle Street and Stroud Book Shop for selling the book on behalf of Transition Stroud."

(iv) Cheltenham will also be celebrating Potato Day at Dundry Nurseries on 22nd and 23rd January 2011.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Potatoes for New Year eating!

Well this last week I dug up the last of the potatoes on my allotment - can't quite believe how wonderful they look and taste!

Potatoes 'For Christmas eating' is not a new thing and I was doubtful if it was possible here in Stroud - indeed several other folk on the allotment said we were wasting our time. Well we got a large bucket load of beauties - see photos from a small number of plants.

Potato plants produce good sized tubers in 65 to 100 days depending on variety. So it is a bit about what you choose. Some seed catalogues have seed potatoes specially held back for August planting.

Frost damage is the first concern in the early stages. If shoots emerge above the soil level and frost threatens, draw a little soil from the bed edges over them. I also used a fleece as frost threatened.

We planted the seed pots in the first days of September! We also had prepared the soil well with garden compost and rotted manure. Potatoes are hungry plants - but lay off too much Nitrogen (eg coffee grounds). Potato plants that receive too much nitrogen will have thick stalks and healthy green leaves, but will produce small potatoes. I think we had a bit too much as pots were small but then growing season wasn't so long....

After the potatoes plants have grown to about 20cm / 8in pull up the soil in between the rows around the plants leaving a few centimetres still showing. Repeat the exercise in two to three weeks time. In fact I was able to build up a good lot of soil around the plant which I am sure helped protect from frost.

As always during the growing season, ensure that weeds are removed. A month or so after planting, the dense foliage of the plant should then block out sufficient light to deter all but the most vigorous weeds.

As the potato plant grows, do not remove or 'stop' the foliage, it is supplying food to the tubers. However, remove any flower heads or buds which appear because these will produce potato seeds which will divert energy from the potato tubers.

Anyway we had the first lot steamed with butter.....of course with the Stroud Potato Recipe book we now have many choices for our remaining potatoes.